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D'Eriq King Expecting Chance To Play Quarterback, Running Back And Receiver For Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) -- Among the undrafted free agents signings by the Patriots after the conclusion of the draft, Miami's D'Eriq King is certainly the most intriguing.

Coming off a season shortened by a shoulder injury, the former Miami Hurricanes multi-threat player signed with the Patriots. His versatility across multiple positions seemed to be a selling point on the signing, and King said as much in a recent interview.

"I talked to [Patriots director of player personnel] Matt Groh, and he was excited. I'm thankful for the opportunity," King told Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. "[Groh] told me I'll do a little bit of everything -- receiver, quarterback, running back -- whatever I can do to stick."

The Patriots obviously have a quarterback in Mac Jones, plus three more in Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, and the recently drafted Bailey Zappe. So a role as a quarterback in the traditional sense is surely out of the question, but the ability to pass from a skill position spot could provide the Patriots with an unpredictable weapon on offense.

In his collegiate career -- spread out across four seasons at Houston and two at Miami -- King completed 661 of his 1,048 passes (63.1 percent) for 8,378 yards with 76 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He had a 36-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio with Houston in 2018 and a 23-to-5 ratio with Miami in 2020. He also rushed for over 2,000 yards with 32 touchdowns on 423 carries, and he caught 61 passes for 520 yards and three touchdowns. Almost all of that receiving work came in his first two seasons at Houston in 2016 and 2017, but his comments indicate that he may get a chance to display that side of his game in Foxboro.

The Patriots have valued versatility in the past, and they haven't been afraid to change players' positions at the NFL level. Julian Edelman converting from college quarterback to NFL receiver/punt returner is of course the most famous example, but more recently they converted Gunner Olszewski from a defensive back at Division II Bemidji State to a receiver/punt returner in the NFL.

The Patriots have also utilized passes from receivers lately, with Edelman, Jakobi Meyers, and Kendrick Bourne all throwing passes in the past two seasons.

Other conversions haven't worked out quite as well as Edelman and Olszewski, but King seems to be getting that chance this year.

"Absolutely, definitely motivated to prove my worth," King told Wilson. "I'm just excited to play football, period. I'm definitely motivated, and you have a chip on your shoulder, whether you get drafted or not. I've played quarterback my whole life, but I think I can be a pretty good receiver as well."

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