Player Profile: Mike Walker

 

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The Jaguars' 2008 receiving corp may go down as the worst in franchise history. In an off season full of change, all but two players are gone and one (Troy Williamson) finds himself on the bottom of the depth chart. The other holdover is the subject of this article, Mike Walker.

What exactly has Walker done to deserve staying on the roster in good standing? On paper, not much. Walker has barely any stats to his name, and spent most of his short career nursing a knee injury that has plagued him since his days at UCF. However, it is the limited flashes that Walker has shown that makes him so intriguing.

As I said, on paper, Walker doesn't offer much. In a two year career, he has amassed the awe inspiring statistics of

Receptions Yards Average Yards Per Game Touchdowns
Career 16 217 13.6 24.1 0

The stats don't make me think he'll be challenging any major receiving records anytime soon. However, it is his potential that has kept him on the roster and why many believe he is due for a breakout season in 2009.

Mike Walker starred on both sides of the ball in high school. He had 13 interceptions and 77 tackles as a corner back in during his junior and senior seasons. However, it was as a receiver that got him noticed. Walker was one of the top receivers in the state of Florida coming out of high school before deciding to go to UCF.

Walker amassed a solid career at a time when UCF wasn't anywhere close to a college football hot spot.

Receptions Yards Average Yards Per Game Touchdowns
Career@ UCF 163 2224 13.6 79.4 17

 

However, as Jaguar fans would soon find out, knee injuries limited Walker. Walked would miss the final two games as a Junior with a knee injury, and would re aggreivate it during his senior campaign.

The Jaguars took him in the 3rd round in 2007 as the kind of pick where the reward outweighed the risk. If Walker hadn't had the nagging knee issues, he would have been gone by the mid 20s. Walker flashed potential in OTAs and training camp before being placed on IR because of the knee injury.

Walker came back in 2008 with determination. He once again looked outstanding in OTAs before his knee flared up. Finally, a fully healed Walker showed up for the Jaguars against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week five. Walker had over 100 yards, before irony struck, and he went down with a knee sprain. Walker never got back in any groove when he returned to the team in Week 11, and here we are.

Where does Walker seem to be heading in 2009? Walker should all but certainly be the Jaguars' #2 receiver as long as he stays healthy. This is the first time we haven't gotten the dreaded blip from Vic that "Mike Walker went down today nursing his knee" and he has once again looked good in OTAs. He certainly has all the measurables one would want out of a wide receiver.

There are no more excuses for Walker this year. He is healthy, as almost no competition, and should know Garrard and the system well enough to do his job. If the Jaguars did strike gold with this pick, we'll find out this year.

-Jon Loesche

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