The Virginia Tech Hokies have always seen some of their players succeed in the NFL. Outside of players, the Hokies have a former player rising in the ranks of an NFL franchise. Former Hokies tight end Jeff King was promoted to Director of Pro Scouting for the Chicago Bears on Tuesday, June 22nd. King has been with the Bears full-time since the 2016 NFL offseason.
Jeff King As A Hokie and in the NFL
King arrived at Blacksburg with the 2001 National Recruiting Class. He was ranked as the third-best tight end in the Atlantic region by the Associated Press. The Roanoke Times ranked King as the 12th best prospect from the state of Virginia. After redshirting in 2001, King played in every game from a redshirt freshman to a redshirt senior.
King played in 53 games as a Hokie while accumulating 58 receptions for 724 yards and 12 touchdowns. King set a school record for career touchdowns scored by a tight end. In his senior season in 2005, King caught 26 receptions for 292 yards and six touchdowns. King was on the team for the Hokies’ first ACC Conference title in the 2004 season when they accumulated a 10-3 overall record (7-1 in conference play). The Carolina Panthers selected King in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played for the Panthers from 2006 to 2010 and the Arizona Cardinals from 2011 to 2013. He finished his pro career with 156 receptions for 1,323 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Jeff King’s Scouting Career with the Chicago Bear
King became a full-time employee for the Chicago Bears in 2016 as a pro scout. He would the Bears acquire NFL free agents through highly efficient analysis of highlight tapes and how they would fit into the schemes on offense or defense. Since 2016, the Bears have acquired key talent that has helped them compete significantly for the NFC North Divisional title.
Some former agent signings that remain on their team analyzed by King and the rest of the Pro Scouts include defensive end Akiem Hicks, linebacker Danny Trevathan, wide receiver Allen Robinson, safety Tashaun Gipson, tight end Jimmy Graham, and defensive end Mario Edward Jr. Other former Bear signees that have been significant for the team’s recent success include offensive tackle Bobby Massie, cornerback Prince Amukamara, defensive end Aaron Lynch, and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
This offseason, the Bears signed Desmond Trufant to replace the departing Amukamara as the starting cornerback. They also signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams, who has experience with head coach Matt Nagy while at Kansas City. Their most controversial signing was former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton after failing to trade for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The Bears fell from 17th to 23rd in offseason rankings due to the free-agent signings, specifically with Dalton believed to be the starting quarterback. In the end, the Bears had the main idea to trade up for Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft.
King will be huge for the Bears going forward as they prepare for potential upgrades to match the newly drafted talent on their roster. The Bears are trending towards the right direction as they appeared in the playoffs as a wildcard last season with an 8-8 record. In 2018, Chicago won the NFC North with a 12-4 overall record. The Bears have been to the playoffs in two of the last three years. Before 2018, the Bears only went to the playoffs once from 2007 to 2017.
The promotion of King shows he is growing into a potential front office or coaching role. King has shown he knows how to analyze talent and how the Bears can utilize these players. Chicago continues to sign high-caliber free agents, under the guidance of King, then they could be a dangerous playoff for several years in the league.