DeMarcus Walker 2017 NFL Draft Profile

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 30: DeMarcus Walker #44 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines during the Capitol One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Edge defender
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 273 pounds
School: Florida State Seminoles

DeMarcus Walker 2017 NFL Draft Profile

In a draft that boasts tremendous depth at the edge position, DeMarcus Walker may be the most accomplished of them all. Walker finished this past season leading Florida State in tackles (64), sacks (15), tackles for loss (17.5), forced fumbles (3), and fumbles recovered (2). His 15 sack season tied him for both the national lead and 3rd place in FSU’s record books (he also has 27.5 career sacks – 3rd in FSU history).

For his size, Walker shows tremendous jump off the line and can play multiple positions along the defensive front. Here, lined up on the interior against a Michigan o-line ranked 28th in adjusted sack rate per football outsiders, Walker beats two defenders with back to back swim moves, getting to the quarterback in a hurry.

Despite his heavy frame, Walker has the speed to beat linemen off the edge. He has shown both the ability to simply run past slower tackles, and the footwork and swim moves to get inside on tackles. Walker also has a fantastic ability to diagnose passing plays quickly. Again working form the interior of the line here, he recognizes the screen pass, and is right on top of the ball when it is thrown, dropping the back for a loss.

Walker occasionally shows issues recognizing and snuffing out runs. He shows a weakness at times to disengage from a block in order to get to the runner. Occasionally, he will lack the motor displayed by other top lineman, giving up on a run that goes to the other side of the line. Even unblocked in a zone read offense, as he was in many of these plays against Louisville, Walker was unable to decipher the play and make a tackle.

Strengths

  • Great jump for his size
  • Excellent swim move
  • Excellent statistics against quality opponents
  • Good pass recognition skills

Weaknesses

  • Trouble stopping the run
  • Issues diagnosing zone reads
  • Needs to lose weight
  • No true position

NFL Comparison: Pernell McPhee

Teams With Needs at the Position: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints

Projection: second round

Bottom Line

Despite how poorly he looked defending the run against Louisville, no NFL offenses run anything remotely resembling the Louisville offense. NFL teams will likely ask him to lose weight going into training camps. There isn’t a perfect position for Walker. His pass rushing prowess will want teams to line him up on the outside, but he may not have the agility needed to cover at the outside linebacker position. Walker will undoubtedly need him to lose weight in order to play either a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end. Additionally, his issues against the run may make a permanent move to the interior of the line difficult.

Teams are always on the prowl for elite pass rushers. Despite one’s weaknesses, anyone that can get pressure on a quarterback has a place in the NFL. Despite his inconsistencies playing the run, and his lack of a true position, Walker has shown the quickness, footwork, and finesse moves to get after quarterbacks. Walker is likely to be a second round pick, but he certainly has the talent to push toward the back end of the first round depending on his combine results and individual workouts.

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