Sauce Gardner offers Kalen King encouragement after disappointing NFL combine

Penn State was having a couple of former defensive players set social media on fire with their performances at the NFL combine, but the experience was not as pleasant for cornerback Kalen King. King’s tough road to the NFL has seemingly seen his stock drop from a potential first-round draft pick to slipping farther into Day 2 of the draft after a tough showing at the Senior Bowl and his sluggish showing at the NFL combine.

King ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine in the most notable event at the premiere scouting event leading to the NFL draft, with only one 40-yard dash time coming in slower among cornerbacks. A slow 40-yard time can do some serious damage to a draft prospect’s outlook. The NFL’s Next Gen Stats grade from the combine rates King as an average back-up or special teamer, a far cry from the former first-round projections as arguably the best cornerback in the draft pool.

King may not have had the best showing of his skills at the combine, but one NFL player has already publicly reached out to offer words of encouragement after having been in a similar position. New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner posted on his X (formerly known as Twitter) account to encourage King to keep his head up and focus on moving past this experience.

King will get a chance to improve on his combine showing when Penn State holds its football pro day. Penn State players have had a way of impressing in the pro day drills, so hopefully King can show some improvement in this key drill and enough to rebuild his NFL draft stock a bit before the draft this April.

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Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire