Skip to main content

Competitive fire burns bright in new QB Michael Pratt, CB Kalen King

The Packers’ seventh-round picks are highly motivated to succeed in Green Bay

QB Michael Pratt and CB Kalen King
QB Michael Pratt and CB Kalen King

GREEN BAY – As the 2024 NFL Draft entered its final turn Saturday night, the Packers added two highly motivated seventh-round picks to an already talent-rich rookie class.

First, General Manager Brian Gutekunst selected Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt with the 245th overall pick, making the Green Wave's all-time leading passer just the third QB Green Bay has chosen in Gutekunst's seven drafts as GM.

Then, the Packers used their 11th and final draft choice (No. 255) on Penn State cornerback Kalen King, a two-time All-Big Ten selection who had 15 passes defensed and three interceptions in 2022 before finishing with just two breakups this past year.

"Our league has a long history of guys who felt they were overlooked and use that as motivation to drive themselves. Hopefully, that'll be the case," Gutekunst said, specifically about King. "Certainly, he was a guy that we expected to go higher, and as we went through it, we felt very fortunate to be able to pick him where we did. He's got a really nice skill set."

In an emotional conference call, King told Green Bay reporters the Packers are getting a hungry and motivated player who wants to silence the doubters after an exhausting and stressful three-day wait that the 5-foot-11, 187-pound cornerback called "one of the toughest things I've mentally had to endure in my life."

King recognized Green Bay is a good place for him with numerous examples of starting-caliber players who have blossomed after humbling entries into the league. Right at the top of that list is former Kentucky cornerback Carrington Valentine, a 2023 seventh-round pick who started 12 games for the Packers last season.

A year prior that, King's former Nittany Lion teammate Rasheed Walker also came to Green Bay as a seventh-round pick before starting 17 games (including playoffs) at left tackle for the Packers last season.

"Seeing all the names being picked ahead of you, just enduring all that … I felt like it put a chip on my shoulder, a permanent chip on my shoulder that I gotta keep there," King said. "I felt like the Packers are going to get one of the most competitive guys in the country, a tough corner, physical corner who's going to give 100% effort around the field at all times and make as many plays as I possibly can by doing it at 100%."

Pratt also experienced a lengthy wait despite receiving a fourth-round grade from draft analyst Lance Zierlein. A four-year starter at Tulane, the 6-foot-2, 213-pound quarterback threw for a program-record 9,603 yards with 90 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He also rushed for 28 touchdowns over 46 collegiate games.

Pratt was honored as the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 2,406 yards, 22 TDs and five INTs this past year. Yet, Pratt was forced to wait until the Packers made him the 11th and final quarterback selected in this year's draft.

Fortunately, Pratt had some close friends and family to keep him company.

"I was in the pool with a bunch of my buddies and family members and my agent came out with the phone," said Pratt, who's the first Tulane quarterback to be drafted in 20 years.

"Getting the call and getting to talk to the coaches to tell me where I'm going, just overwhelming joy and finally some peace. It's been a long day but just super fired-up and can't wait to get up there and can't wait to get back to football. Can't wait to compete, can't wait to be a Packer."

Pratt had pre-draft conversations with several NFL teams and recalled speaking to the Packers informally at the Senior Bowl and combine. He has familiarity with Green Bay's quarterback room, including a budding friendship with 2023 fifth-rounder Sean Clifford.

Pratt believes he first met Clifford at the Manning Passing Academy several years ago. The two also are part of a group messenger with Tennessee quarterback Will Levis and a few other QBs.

"Growing that connection with him has been really cool," said Pratt of Clifford. "Just having that opportunity to continue our friendship and be able to push each other, be able to lead each other, learn from each other – I think it's an awesome experience."

King says he also is well acquainted with the Packers' secondary on film. He's excited to learn from the two-time All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander and others in hope of showing the rest of the NFL what they missed out on after passing on him.

"I feel like this experience that I got these past three days was nothing but a humbling experience for me," King said. "I'm just gonna use it to add fuel to the fire because there have been a lot of doubters in my ear and a lot of doubters on me for the past couple months, and it's always going to be those. I'm not too worried about those people.

"I know what I'm capable of and I'm ready to show the world I can do."

Related Content