Flying Under the Radar: Jeff King

Despite the inconsistent play from the revolving door at quarterback, tight end Jeff King is having a career year.

The Carolina Panthers are in the midst of their second consecutive disappointing season following great preseason expectations. A large part of the reason for the Panthers inconsistent play has been the play at the quarterback position. Opening day starter Jake Delhomme suffered an elbow injury and was placed on the injured reserve list back in October, which ended his season. The Panthers have played with three quarterbacks since including rookie Matt Moore (Oregon State), former first overall pick David Carr (2002), and the oldest quarterback in football, Vinny Testaverde (44 years old).

Jeff King entered the 2007 season with just one career reception in 12 games played, and the former fifth-round pick from Virginia Tech wasn't figured to be productive in the passing game. Thus far, King has showed a nice set of hands as evidenced by his 41 receptions in the Panthers first 12 games. King has averaged nine yards per reception this year and 23 of his catches have gone for first downs, and two others have scored touchdowns. King's 41 catches are more than any Jaguars receiver, and are second on the team only to Pro Bowler Steve Smith's 59 receptions.

The Panthers are getting a fantastic return on their fifth-round investment from 2006, as the 6'3", 260 lb. tight end has caught more passes during this season than many other tight ends taken in front of him (in the 2006 draft). King has more catches than top ten pick Vernon Davis, and the Jaguars own former first-round pick Marcedes Lewis. King actually has more receptions than any other tight end from his draft class with the exception of Houston's Owen Daniels.

Opposing tight ends have earned their respective paychecks against the Jaguars this season, and if defensive coordinator Mike Smith doesn't account for Jeff King, the home team and their fans could be left scratching their heads.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.



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