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A Look at Walker
The Falcons continue to check off their defensive needs in this year’s draft. Atlanta really needed to fill De’Vondre Campbell’s void and they did that with Walker. The two aren’t far off of each other when it comes to their play.
Walker first began his collegiate career at Azusa Pacific. He was an all-conference performer in his second year posting 102 tackles, 11.5 for loss, and three sacks.
The Vacaville, California, native transferred to Fresno State in 2017 where he redshirted. It didn’t take long to step up as a Bulldog. When he did, he tallied 87 tackles, a team-high with 14 resulting in losses, 4.5 sacks, an interception, six pass breakups, two blocked kicks, and two forced fumbles in 14 starts.
Last season, Walk was a first-team all-conference again after recording 96 stops, a team-high nine for loss, 2.5 sacks, and four pass breakups in 12 starts.
Falcons on Track With Drafting Versatility
Teams are now looking for faster and more athletic linebackers and safeties as opposed to bigger, stronger and slower ones of traditional, past rosters.
Falcons are all in with adding versatility to their roster and a lot of players can’t handle the switch up but Walker is one of the guys who has shown that he can play at more than one spot.
Football appears to be headed in a similar direction as the NBA in the sense that teams are learning to put the ball in the hands of their best players even though the player doesn’t fit the standard prototype of what the position normally is. There are athletic running backs out there who run routes like wide receivers and linebackers who can run just as fast as cornerbacks.
In Walker’s case, he can be can excel at both middle linebacker or strong-side linebacker. Although, Walker said he’s not sure where the Falcons where use him but says he will play anywhere they want him to.
Walker should be an immediate starter with little competition on the depth chart. Dan Quinn also believes that next in line, Foye Olukon will step up this season but there’s no way of telling until the pre season comes.
What the Expert Says
Here’s what Bleacher Report’s NFL analyst Matt Miller has to say:
Walker may be one of the most difficult evaluations in this linebacker class. He’s routinely productive from a statistical standpoint and he has a natural feel for the position. His athletic testing numbers were solid, but his play on the field doesn’t show an above-average athlete. He looks labored when he opens to run and never seems to hit his stride. Identifying whether it’s a mobility, ability or effort issue will be critical in determining whether he succeeds in the NFL.
Welcome to the ‘A,’ Walker.