Weight: 206 pounds
2017 Stats: 97 tackles, 2 INT, 3.5 TFL, 0.5 Sacks
40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds
Vertical: 33 inches
Broad: 119 inches
Former Ragin’ Cajun Tracy Walker is looking to get a chance to make an impact on an NFL roster for the upcoming season. Current projections place him in rounds 5 to 6 in the 2018 NFL Draft. With a long frame and proven consistency to make tackles over the last four years, Walker will rightfully be given a shot at the next level. Let’s take a look at what type of player these NFL teams are getting.
Four Years of Ragin’
Walker played four complete seasons as a Cajun, appearing in 50 games in the process. Over that time he recorded 276 total tackles, 26 passes defended, 11 tackles for loss, and eight interceptions. That averages out to about 5.5 tackles a game. He really ramped it up for the last two games of his college career, recording 14 and 15 total tackles against Georgia Southern and Appalachian State respectively.
The tackles in his last two games are a relevant stat for his future in the NFL. It is not simply due to the fact that he was a part of nearly 30 tackles in two games, but more so because it shows an intangible quality within Walker: heart. Walker got the most of his final moments in college, and that shows a love of the game that most statistics cannot reflect. This can play well in his favor, as concerns surrounding top players’ dedications to the game can be damaging to draft stock. Walker’s intangibles can be vital to his chances of success.
Every year as a Ragin’ Cajun, Walker was on some form of the all-conference team. He was on the Sun Belt All-Freshman team in 2014 and from 2015-2017, he was on the preseason Second-Team All-Sun Belt team. He was consistent throughout his time as a Cajun in whatever role they needed him to play. Here’s an in-depth look at his talents according to NFL scouts at the combine.
Strengths: Length, range, hard hitter, run support, pursuit
Walker has long arms and big hands, making him a headache in pass coverage when he gets to the right spot. He uses these physical tools to be disrupt offenses in both the pass and run. He has a good feel for the distance between himself, the receiver, and the ball.
Walker definitely seeks out contact and opportunities to bring the big hit. According to his NFL Combine scouting report he is “not afraid to send a message.” He is ready and able to make you regret coming his way if you come at him anything less than full speed.
Walker’s willingness to hit translates well into run-support when he is positioned closer to the box. He has had some experience in college playing more of a hybrid-linebacker role because of his aptitude for run fits. On top of this, he has proven to be a very patient tackler when it comes to pursuit angles; knows how to use the sideline as the 12th man.
Weaknesses: Deep coverage, changes of speed, play recognition
Walker sometimes loses his sense of depth when he is tasked with covering receivers with great moves or the ability to stretch the field. His vision can betray him, but he thrives in “bump-and-run” styles of coverage. He has no problem covering receivers, he just gets beat in the open field on occasion. This is related to another knock on Walker, his speed in and out of transitions. If he does not recognize a route or play early enough, he can struggle to recover and “catch up” to the receiver.
A final criticism of Walker’s game involves his ability to recognize the run from the deep safety position. Often times he does not make a decision on the play type when he is deep, effectively keeping him out of certain run plays. Being that he can play the run so well if he lines up closer to the box, this seems like a weakness that can be remedied by scheme.
Walker has a place on an NFL team, but what exact form that takes remains to be seen. Most of his shortcomings stem from adjustments mid-play, something that needs to be fixed in order to compete at the next level. That being said, he offers an NFL team a lot of potential due to his size and ability to play the run.
The talent is there, it’s just a matter of finding the proper scheme and situational fit. He was a main feature of the Ragin’ Cajun defense for the past 4 years, sometimes being asked to do things that did not completely suit his abilities. When he was put in a proper spot on the defense, he thrived and made plays consistently. It is up to an NFL team to recognize this and apply his skills where they are most effective.