D’Andre Walker is another in a long line of athletic Georgia linebackers, but is he good enough to go high in the 2019 NFL draft?
Weight: 245 lbs
- Athleticism isn’t a problem. He moves well in space and has enough speed and fluidity to drop into coverage as he was often asked to at school.
- Has a good initial punch with his hands and arms, showing he can both rock a tackle backward or shed them off when pursuing the ball carrier.
- Has the flexibility needed in his hips to bend the edge without losing speed, getting under blocks and finding the quarterback or forcing him to step up into the pocket or bail out.
- Keeps awareness for where the ball is and shows the ability to chase it down the sideline to sideline with no signs of lagging effort.
This is a good example of Walker at his best. He trusts what his eyes and film study tell him and doesn’t hesitate in reaction. He knifes through the gap before blockers can even account for him and gets to the ball carrier right after the handoff, eliminating any chances of being juked or eluded. Then he makes a solid tackle for a big loss.
- No wasted motion in his stunts, allowing him to come free for clean shots at the quarterback and doesn’t get hung up by running backs too often.
- Some teams may want to think about converting him to a SAM linebacker in a 4-3. He has the type of skill set that would fit that role well.
- A sneaky competitor on special teams. Shows that fearlessness to hit and attack blockers on kickoffs with the ability to find the football.
- Size is going to be a major question for him in the NFL. He has neither the height nor weight that 4-3 teams look for in a defensive end. He’ll likely be a pure 3-4 outside linebacker.
- Sack productivity could be considered okay but nothing special. His final two years at Georgia he had 13 total in 26 games.
- Ability to stand his ground and set the edge can be a problem. Bigger tackles can drive him back with relative consistency.
- His explosiveness won’t be considered top tier. He’s a hair second late on several snaps and doesn’t have top tier acceleration up the field.
- Doesn’t make full use of his hands enough on his rushes. Needs coaching up on his array of moves because he doesn’t have enough talent to win much without them.
Pro Comparison: Kyle Van Noy
The size, athleticism, and body types all match up. Van Noy wasn’t a natural pass rusher but he had some of that skill along with range and tackling ability. He had the versatility to move around and create opportunities. He was a bust early on with Detroit, but New England figured out how to use his somewhat tweener skill set properly. The good news is Walker would seem to be a slightly better pass rusher and has better ball awareness.
Projection: 3rd round
Walker has the traits to be either a 3-4 pass rusher or a 4-3 outside linebacker. It all depends on which team likes him the most. He has the upside to be a good player at either of those positions. He plays hard, hits hard, and can become a quality 10-year starter if he’s able to polish his game enough to where he can overcome certain physical limitations.