Walker is a considered a high-upside prospect, with incredible athletic traits that he flashed at the NFL Combine. Walker, at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds, ran a blazing-fast 4.51-second 40-yard dash. He also recorded a 35.5-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-3-inch broad jump, a 6.89-second three-cone drill and a 4.32-second shuttle time. After that performance, Walker saw his draft stock explode and eventually became the first pick of 2022.
However, Walker is also considered “raw” as a pass-rusher and will have a lot of technique-related things to work on in the NFL. With that said, he should come in strong as a run defender.
In Georgia’s defensive scheme, Walker was not ultra-productive. His stats certainly don’t stand out. Last year, Walker started 15 games for Georgia, helping the Bulldogs win a national championship for the 2021 season. Walker amassed 37 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two passes deflected and one fumble recovery. In 36 career games at Georgia, Walker recorded 65 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Walker certainly fits the mold of what Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is looking for in an edge rusher: big, athletic, versatile and high upside. He is expected to play on the edge in Jacksonville’s defensive scheme, often standing up in a two-point stance.
“He played all the way up and down the line of scrimmage, anywhere from a zero-technique all the way to a seven-technique,” Baalke said after the selection. “Played in the two-point off the edge, which he’s going to be used a lot in our scheme. That versatility, ability to stop the run, rush the passer, there’s a lot of work to do, but there’s a lot of talent to work with.”
Given the fact that Walker is a bit of a developmental project who can perhaps either turn into a perennial All-Pro, or not pan out at all, this pick is difficult to assign a grade to. Here are some national grades on the Walker pick, which weren’t too kind:
- NFL.com: B+ (for full first round)
- SB Nation: C
- Bleacher Report: C
- Yahoo Sports: C+
- CBS Sports: B-
- Pro Football Network: B+
How would you grade the Walker pick, Jaguars fans? Vote in the poll below and let us know in the comments section.
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The majority of SB Nation Reacts voters gave the Walker pick either a “B” or “C” at a combined 54 percent.