NAME: D’Andre Walker
POSITION: Edge Defender
JERSEY: No. 15
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 240 lbs
Run Defense – Plays with great leverage and arm extension to set a consistently firm edge against the run. Capable of squeezing down gapes and eliminating space for backs to run through. Anchor is stout. Effective working from a standup role and with his hand in the dirt. Processes play design quickly and maintains his fits. Effective in backside pursuit working down the line of scrimmage.
Pass Rush – A bit underdeveloped but foundational traits are present. Has the length, burst and flexibility needed to win but lacks the ability to consistently execute pass rush moves. Needs to be more sudden and deliberate with the timing and usage of his hand technique. Footwork doesn’t complement his pass rush plan with consistency. Counters are lacking. Has upside but needs development.
Burst – Often wobbly in his stance which robs him of first step explosion. Doesn’t consistently gain enough depth in his initial steps to generate the vertical push needed to position himself to win around the outside hip of the offensive tackle.
Effort – His motor always runs hot and he plays with urgency. Struggles to get off blocks but still battles throughout the rep to find the football and pursue. Assertive in his effort to play off and through contact.
Hand Technique – Effectively uses his hands in the run game to initiate first contact and plug blockers into gaps. Timing and execution to soften rush angles as a pass rusher is lacking. Gets worked up the arc with no counters when rushing the passer.
Flexibility – Has illustrated the ability to flatten and turn the corner. Plays with great leverage which helps minimize his surface area despite not being overly bendy. Can carry speed through his turns on account of ankle flexion.
Processing – Diagnoses the run game well and understands where the ball is designed to go based on the blocking scheme. Needs to develop more in his ability to read the offensive tackle’s pass set and how to best attack. Has been used some in coverage and he looks comfortable reaching his landmarks in zone. Highly effective executing stunts. Does well to get his hands in throwing lanes.
Play Strength – Does well to keep his pads low to maximize his power. Easily exchanges power with tight ends and fullbacks and holds his own against offensive tackles. Contact balance and power is excellent. Not a great speed to power converter.
Versatility – Has upside in a standup role or in a three-point stance. Sound run defender with the tools to become an effective pass rusher. Has looked capable in coverage.
BEST TRAIT – Run Defense
WORST TRAIT – Pass Rush Counters
RED FLAGS – None
A four-year contributor, Walker didn’t start until his final season at Georgia but displayed steady growth throughout his career. A versatile prospect, Walker has the upside to work as a 3-4 outside linebacker and play defensive end in even fronts. While he is most polished currently as a run defender, Walker has the tools to develop into a productive pass rusher. In order for him to reach his ceiling rushing the passer in the NFL, fixing his stance and developing his hand usage is critical. Likely a sub-package player initially, Walker has the traits to become a starter by year three with continued growth.
First Step Quickness –Doesn’t inspire with his get-off at the snap, lacks any notable ground gained when trying to coil out of a three point stance. Does well to build momentum through his first few steps but initial explosiveness isn’t something that will bear fruit as an NFL speed rusher.
Hand Technique/Length – Hands carry quite a bit of pop and does well to shoot his fit early in the rep and clamp on. Has successfully implemented long arm tech but his hands have gotten high on him a few times, a minor coaching point to attend to going forward.
Pass Rush Counters –Unimaginative. Doesn’t produce a lot of natural edge pressure when he’s faced with pass sets. Poor sense of how to address a well framed block. Pressure has come from slide protections and on twists/stunts up front where the angles are naturally diminished.
Flexibility – Cornering skills don’t inspire a lot of confidence in speed rush situations, struggles to produce a lot of lower body tilt to play with leverage underneath the pads of his tackles. Lateral hinges are more effective than ankle flexion and trying to run the edge.
Run Defending –Difficult to get movement on and even once you’ve put him on his heels he’s pretty crafty to uncover. Hustle off the back side in unblocked situations has yielded some flash plays as well, pretty quick to process when he’s reading run blocks in front of his face.
Competitive Toughness –Frustrating reps at times, will get complacent near the action and lazily pull at the ball carrier or not engage at all. That aside, is a stout body on the edge and an presence in the run game. Difficult to uproot and shows good effort in late disengages to get into the ball carrier.
Tackling –When he’s decided he wants to plant you with his pads, he’s got great pop in linear situations and enough of a wingspan to be present if you try running off of his hip. Will throw his body into a gap if working from in space and plug up added yardage well.
Lateral Mobility – Moves pretty well in space and was tasked with assignments working to the numbers. Is pretty fluid, helping to make up for only modest spring in his step. Transitional quickness is not going to win him foot races, however and he’s going to need momentum to stay leveraged if tested outside.
Stand Up Ability –Shallow zones were well within his role, as were reps picking up the back out of the backfield and being tasked to turn and run in man to man. Functional athleticism appears there, making him an attractive option to play in an odd man front as an OLB.
Football IQ –Kind of an odd blend of skills: he’s effective and technically polished against the run but he’s not developed as a pass rusher in any capacity. Ceiling may be present for further development but his rush IQ and muscle memory is going to require a lot of coaching.
BEST TRAIT – Run Defending
WORST TRAIT – Pass Rush Counters
BEST FILM – Tennessee (2018)
WORST FILM – Alabama (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
D’Andre Walker projects as an early down EDGE defender in the NFL. Walker shows great anchor and punch in his hands to reset the LOS, but his ability to rush the passer will hinder his ability to stay on the field with regularity. Walker is ideally a player who gets subbed off the field in obvious passing situations in order to allow more explosiveness and variety off the edge. Walker could feasibly fit a “starting” role, just one with tempered snap %s.
PROS: Build and length are exceptional. Muscle distribution looks like he was made in a factory. Physical demeanor. Flashes a long arm to stay loose from contact and keep inside rush options available. Reads tackle’s set and takes what is given. Not bendy, but can dip the shoulder and tilt the edge with good ankle flexibility.
Hustles and plays hard in pursuit. Production for a part-time player was eye-popping, especially considering how often Georgia had him going on and off the field. Was never able to establish much rhythm as a rusher, making 2018 an important year for his tape.
CONS: Ants in his pants pre-snap. Cannot get settled into his stance and is often unbalanced or unprepared for the snap. Get-off is consistently poor as a result. Needs to do a better job of settling into a 2-point stance and timing his jump off the ball. Too frequently no plan of attack as a rusher. Can get pushed up the arc with no attempt at a counter move.
Needs to work his hands when cornering, doesn’t make his angle better by knocking down his opponent’s hands. Overall athletic ability is in question, doesn’t show much explosiveness up the arc or in space. Plays a bit too high in the run game and can get walked out of his gap at times.
Hustled or walked into a lot of his production last year (13.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks). Would love to see him develop a go-to move that is consistently sustainable to win 1v1.