Idaho’s Tre Walker is one of the most productive linebackers college football has seen in recent years and he now looks to make the leap from FCS-level football to the NFL. Walker is a four-year contributor to the Idaho Vandals who after his freshman season went on to earn All-American honors in his remaining three seasons. Walker is a well-built, dense linebacker who plays with outstanding physicality and tempo. He is a good athlete overall with good straight-line speed and short-area burst who excels coming downhill and filling at the line of scrimmage. In the run game, Walker displays good eyes, instincts, and awareness. He is quick to read run and comes downhill with very good burst and toughness. He shoots gaps with good timing and is an excellent tackler. Walker has good pop in his lower half and is above average taking on and shedding blocks. He takes excellent angles to the football and is a natural playmaker who has a knack for forcing turnovers. In the passing game, Walker gets good depth in his zone drops and is quick to close on anything in front of him. He has good straight-line speed to stick in man and has good timing at the catch point. While there’s a lot to like about Walker, there are some areas of concern. He lacks ideal length and struggles to shed when linemen are able to get inside his pads. Walker is much better moving forward than playing in space, as he shows stiffness when forced to change direction both against the pass and the run. Overall, Walker is an intriguing linebacker prospect who shows redeeming qualities, especially as a tenacious run defender, but his athletic and physical limitations limit his upside as anything more than a backup, two-down linebacker and core special teamer.
Ideal Role: Two-down MIKE with special teams ability
Scheme Fit: 4-3 inside
Written by Brentley Weissman
Games watched: UC Davis (2021), Penn State (2019), Indiana (2021)
Best Game Studied: Indiana (2021)
Worst Game Studied: UC Davis (2021)
Tackling: Walker is a very good tackler who displays good strength and power. He is a tone-setter who packs a punch when he squares up ball-carriers. He is an excellent open-field tackler who takes good angles to the football and arrives on time. He’s a heat-seeking missile who is always around the football.
Football IQ/Instincts: Walker has good instincts and football IQ. He displays very good ability to read and react and is quick to trigger downhill in the run game. He is a sound processor who is asked to do a lot in this defense. He takes good zone drops and understands leverage and spacing in coverage.
Competitive Toughness: Walker is the tone-setter of this defense. He plays with his hair on fire and is always around the football. He plays with excellent effort and has a high motor. He makes so many tackles because he never stops working to the football, even when he is initially covered up.
Pass Coverage Ability: Walker is an above-average player in zone coverage. He is a little stiff when working backward in his zone drops but he flashes foot instincts and short-area burst to close on things in front of him. In man coverage, he lacks length and requisite lateral agility to stay connected throughout the route and he is stiff in his lower body when forced to change direction.
Run Defending: Walker is an excellent run defender who is always around the football. He has good instincts and speed to shoot gaps and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He takes excellent angles to the football and tackles with violence.
Block Deconstruction: Walker displays good pop in his hips and brings explosive power when he strikes incoming blockers. He is able to shock, create space, and then evade the blocker and make the play. However, Walker’s lack of length limits his ability to deconstruct blocks as blockers with length can easily get inside his chest and control and steer him away from the football.
Lateral Mobility: Walker is a good athlete when it comes to straight-line speed and short-area quickness. He is able to flow from sideline to sideline and is excellent scraping across the line of scrimmage. When he is forced to change directions, you see flashes of lower-body stiffness and he gathers when breaking down.
Flexibility: Walker is a stiff athlete with regard to his overall movement skills. He lacks the necessary fluidity and flexibility to stay square in man coverage and backs and receivers can easily separate underneath with quick breaking routes. When forced to make open-field tackles, there are times Walker can get juked out due to his feet being stuck in the mud as he tries to shift weight.
Leadership: Walker is the unquestioned leader of his defense. He plays with an urgency and enthusiasm that is contagious. He flies to the football and will always work to finish. He gets his players aligned and makes all the calls.
Versatility: Because Walker lacks the functional athleticism to play in space, he lacks any sort of positional versatility. His best role projects as a two-down inside linebacker where he can excel playing the run in the box.
TDN Consensus: 68.25/100 (Sixth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 67.50/100
Weissman Grade: 69.00/100