Former Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Walker has signed with the Tennessee Titans, according to Walker’s agent David Canter.
The Broncos selected Walker in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft. Walker played in 36 games for the Broncos recording 51 combined tackles, 10.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
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Walker Flashed Upside With the Broncos
Walker was a standout during his college career at Florida State. In his senior season, Walker had a whopping 16 sacks in 13 games.
In his draft profile, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Walker to Mario Edwards, who also played at Flordia State and was a second-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Zierlein expressed concerns about Walker’s physical traits.
Walker’s sack totals are impressive, but he’s not the type of “early win” sack artist that generally post those types of numbers. He’s a base end with power to hold up at the point, but better suited to reduce inside as interior rusher on passing downs. Walker lacks the desired size and physical traits teams look for off the edge; a move to three-technique isn’t out of the question.
Pro Football Focus compared Walker to veteran defensive tackle Tom Johnson in a scouting report that is startlingly accurate in hindsight.
Johnson has always been a guy you’re happy to have on your team, but know he’ll never be a starter. Walker could end up the same way as his body type doesn’t lend itself to playing the run in the NFL. They both possess a pass rushing ability that’s valuable on third down.
Bottom line: At the moment, Walker is a tweener. Too small to play full time inside and unathletic enough to play out on the edge. Over time he could bulk up into a full-time 3-tech, but playing the run may never be his strong suit. That said there is upside as an interior pass rusher and could step in and produce their right away.
As a rookie, Walker appeared in 10 games, but he played only a total of 100 defensive snaps. Still, Walker flashed upside in limited action with five quarterbacks hits and a PFF grade of 82.3.
After barely seeing the field for two seasons, Walker finally saw a slight increase in playing time in 2019. He played 220 defensive snaps, which set a new career-high. He had 22 combined tackles and four sacks.
In his fourth season, Walker saw an increased role playing 384 defensive snaps. He had 18 combined tackles and 4.5 sacks. However, he saw a decrease in efficiency posting a career-low PFF grade of 54.1.
During the offseason, he signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans. In his lone season with the Texans, Walker appeared in 13 games recording 31 combined tackles, two sacks, and a PFF grade of 61.2.
Walker Is a Nice, Low-Risk Addition
Walker’s tenure with the Broncos was bizarre. He was selected relatively early in the draft, yet he never really got the chance to play a major role on defense.
Although his statistics have declined over the past two seasons, Walker proved to be an efficient player in a limited role early in his career, and he is still only 27 years old.
This is a smart low-risk, high-reward move by the Tennessee Titans.