After an eventful three hours, Miami’s Pro Day on Wednesday afternoon was coming to a close. The majority of athletes and guests who attended had left. The small number of players that were still at the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility were wrapping up their post-Pro Day interviews.
There was still one former Hurricane showcasing his skills for NFL scouts: quarterback D’Eriq King, only instead of throwing passes, he was running routes and catching footballs as a wide receiver.
“The more you could do, the more valuable you are, so if I can be one guy on a roster that can [play] back-up quarterback, receiver, special teams, whatever I can do,” King said after his Pro Day performance. “It’s all about getting the best opportunity to make the roster.”
King’s collegiate career began as a jack-of-all-trades player. In his first two seasons at Houston, King threw for 1280 yards and ran for 435 yards, all while racking up nearly 500 yards as a wide receiver.
The Manvel, Texas native also recorded 289 yards and a touchdown as a kick and punt returner before shifting his full attention to the quarterback position for his junior season.
“I got invited to the [NFL Scouting Combine] as a quarterback, so I really focused on quarterback, but I still was doing some receiver things, so I was trying to get back into it. When you haven’t [played receiver] in 3-4 years, you kind of feel awkward at first,” King said. “Now that I’ve been working with my [trainer], he’s helped me out a lot, and I feel a little better about it.”
The nature of the NFL has shifted in a way that values versatility and competitors who can excel at multiple positions. One of the more notable players who fits this mold is Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints. Hill has lined up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end through his five seasons with the team, and he has been paid handsomely for this positional ambiguity, signing a four-year contract extension worth up to $94 million during the 2021 season.
“I was trying to [train at receiver and quarterback] every day,” King said regarding his training regimen. “I would throw first, and then after I got done throwing, go run some routes … just getting it in every day trying to feel comfortable while I was doing it.”
King joined wideouts Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo as the three former Hurricanes that participated at wide receiver on Pro Day. Both Harley and Rambo had record-setting collegiate careers at Miami and project as potential selections in April’s NFL Draft.
“He’s a baller. He’s athletic, he’s going to throw it, he’s going to catch it,” Rambo said as to how King has looked at the receiver position. “I know [when] I’m on the field with that guy, I got a baller right next to me.”
The six-year collegiate star just wants a shot at an NFL roster spot, and he is willing to perform at whatever position he’s asked to play in to make that a possibility.
“I am a quarterback. That’s who I am. I’m a leader like a quarterback, I watch tape like a quarterback, but at the same time, I love football. I love the game of football,” King said. “However it gets me the opportunity to play at the next level … I don’t care if they tell me to go wash the car, I’ll do it.”