Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE -- Mitch King expected to be drafted out of Iowa by the fifth round, at the latest. Then he might have gotten a few thousand dollars to sign elsewhere as a free agent.
But Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn sold him on the Titans. He felt like a perfect match with the coach, style and team, so King came to Nashville as the undrafted rookie with the highest-profile on a team that couldn't draw much from the pool because of its deep roster.
King said he got about 20 calls and narrowed his choices to Tennessee, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Seattle before deciding Nashville was his destination.
King surely could have found better roster opportunity than he's got here, where five tackles rank ahead of him at the start: Tony Brown, Jason Jones, Jovon Haye, second-round draft pick Sen'Derrick Marks and Kevin Vickerson.
If they are all healthy, it could come down to the high-motor King (6 feet 2 and 280) against Vickerson, who's the biggest veteran on the post-Albert Haynesworth interior defensive line at 6 feet 5, 305 for the final spot.
That's if they keep five, and they are deep at end as well.
Here are highlights of a conversation beat writers and I had with King after rookie orientation practice Friday:
"I felt [defensive line] coach [Jim] Washburn and the staff here would give me the best opportunity to come in and showcase my abilities. I just love the feel, I love the idea of Nashville, I love the coaching philosophy of coach Washburn, I think me and his mindsets mesh pretty well."
"A couple thousand here or there doesn't amount to the opportunity to come in and fight for a spot in a defense like this."
"I was told anywhere from early three to [round] five. I wasn't told any later than that. It was kind of hard to swallow to be honest with you. But once round five hit, me and my agent were talking and we said, 'It might be more opportunistic to go free agent so you can pick, you might lose a little money up front but that's not a big deal for me, I just want to play football."
"I think it makes me a better player. Everybody says I am too short and everything like that and that's probably why I wasn't drafted. But it makes me have a little bit bigger chip on my shoulder, and I think that makes me a better player. I'm hungry, I'm angry, I'm pissed off and I am excited to come in here and play."