Houston Texans: How Desmond King can follow Tyrann Mathieu’s lead

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

With all the news surrounding the Houston Texans, the signing of former All-Pro cornerback Desmond King has gone under the radar.

Desmond King burst onto the scene in the 2018 season with the Los Angeles Chargers, earning 1st team All-Pro Honors as a cornerback and 2nd team All-Pro as a punt returner. Since then, the Iowa Hawkeye has been traded and now finds himself on his third team. It was during that year in which former Texan Tyrann Mathieu made an impact on King and his career growth.

Similar to when the Houston Texans signed Mathieu in 2018, King finds himself in a “prove it” situation. The Texans signed King to a one-year deal that will allow him to show he is still capable of performing at an All-Pro level- before potentially hitting the market. The Texans would be smart to keep King if he performs close to how Mathieu did in the 2018 season.

The Honey Badger’s one season in the Space City was Justin Reid‘s rookie season, and arguably the best season of his career. Mathieu’s versatility opened up opportunities for Reid and made his transition to the NFL a pretty smooth one. Spending time as a deep safety behind Mathieu, Reid recorded 10 pass breakups and 3 interceptions, including a 101-yard TD return.

It’s not really going out on a limb saying that good players make it easier for the players around them. But, the Texans have missed a playmaker over the middle since Mathieu’s departure. Now, adding King, they may have filled that void.

What adding Desmond King means for the Houston Texans

Lonnie Johnson Jr. has spent the off-season preparing for his transition from cornerback to safety. In the two preseason games, Johnson has shown how his athletic ability and aggressiveness will translate well. Johnson has spent time learning under Johnson the ropes of the defense.

Along with the pick-six, Johnson has been aggressively pursuing the ball from his deep safety position. In fact, King and Johnson converged on a pass against Green Bay forcing an incompletion. King’s tight coverage over the middle of the field will force tough passes. This could result in opportunities for Johnson to make plays over the top.

Similar to the way Reid played off of Mathieu, Johnson could benefit from what King can do over the middle. Of course Reid himself, along with the rest of the secondary, will stand to benefit if King can bounce back to his 2018 form.

The new-look defensive front has been doing a good job forcing pressure through two games, recording 10 hits on the quarterback and 7 sacks. Improved coverage will allow that to continue. As well as being good in coverage, King himself has been an effective pass rusher from the secondary, recording 8.5 sacks in his four seasons.

Desmond King, the playmaker

Along with the improvement he can provide the defense and the individuals around him, King has excellent ball skills. Showing flashes already in the pre-season, the former All-Pro is as valuable as a returner as he is a defender.

In his four seasons, King has five total touchdowns, with two coming on punt returns. The Texans have struggled on special teams as well as in the secondary in recent years. Adding King is two birds, one stone situation.

The new-look defense for the Houston Texans has already forced seven turnovers through two preseason games. Expect Desmond King to help the transition into a ball-hawking defense and with the development of young players in the secondary.

The Texans would love to see him regain that All-Pro form as a returner and at cornerback. Then, the next step would be making sure another great defender doesn’t leave the city.