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Need For Speed? The Redskins Can Improve OLB Position By Drafting D’Andre Walker

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 29 Tennessee at Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

D’Andre Walker, OLB
School: Georgia | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 245 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd or 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Uchenna Nwosu

College Statistics

Player Overview

D’Andre Walker was a 4-star prospect that was heavily recruited inside and out of his home state of Georgia. Walker decided to stay with the local big time program and committed to Georgia in 2015. He has put together 2 solid years of production and his head coach Kirby Smart heavily praised him for being a hard worker and considered him one of the team’s most important players. Georgia’s pass rush was not near the level it should have been this year after the losses of Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter to the NFL last year. Walker did his best to answer the call in that area and accounted for nearly a 3rd of the teams total sack production with 7.5 sacks on the year. Walker was asked to do a variety of things at Georgia as an outside linebacker. He played from a 2, 3, and 4 point stance on both the weak and strong sides. He dropped back into coverage and played a little inside linebacker in certain packages as well. Walker is an interesting OLB prospect because he falls into that second tier of OLB/EDGE prospects that will come off the board at the position in large part due to not being an elite athlete and being dubbed a ‘tweener’. Walker is a fine athlete and if a player of his talent is going to potentially drop to the 3rd round it should give you an idea of just how deep this class is at the position.

Strengths

  • High effort / high motor player with good athleticism.
  • Has natural feeling on how to use his speed, power, and length to get into the backfield. He can make quick work of a defender if everything goes right. Especially effective working off stunts where he can used his speed to cut inside and create interior pressure.
  • Can convert his speed to power well. If Walker can consistently place his punch under the OL’s pads and keep his legs moving he wins the leverage and momentum battle and can overwhelm them quickly.
  • Has experience dropping back into coverage but will have to prove he can do it consistently look for him at the Senior Bowl. He is also scheme versatile as an outside linebacker and should be able to play in 3-4 alignment as well as 4-3

Weaknesses

  • Walker isn’t overtly flexible, strong, or fast so you won’t see him beat a lot of tackles outright with his speed until he works on his get off and technique more.
  • Speaking of technique I think Walker has all the tools but like most prospects he doesn’t yet know when and how to use them all. He needs to improve his consistency. Most obvious he needs to get better at shedding blocks and developing counter moves so he doesn’t get stalled on his pass rush. This means improving his hands at the point of attack, playing at a consistent rush speed, and learning how to keep leverage and use it against his opponent.
  • Walkers instincts and read and react ability strike me as just ok. In other words if he were more instinctive I think he would be involved in a lot more plays. This is especially true against the run where he isn’t really much of a factor.
  • Size is decent but he is dubbed as the dreaded ‘tweener’.

Let’s see his work:

More D’Andre Walker videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

After drafting 6-4+ and 260+ pound defensive ends that they convert to linebackers in a 3-4 for the past few years the Redskins may be finally breaking out of that mold. They drafted Ryan Anderson in 2017 who is around 6-2 and 250 lbs. Anderson was not known for his athleticism but he is a true outside linebacker who should be more in the mix next season if Preston Smith is not brought back. How does Walker fit in? Walker offers the Redskins speed which they have been sorely lacking at the position. Walker is a similar size to Anderson and has the length to fit what the Redskins like. I do think they are looking to get faster at the position rather than only relying on technique and power as they have done in the past. Walker gives them that. The immediate issue is that Walker will have to improve his technique to get past the tackles in the NFL. The secondary ‘issue’ is that Walker is a pass rusher not a run defender. Don’t get be wrong all outside linebackers have to play the run and drop back into coverage at some point but the defensive philosophy of the Redskins seems to not make complete used of the pass rushing ability of its outside linebackers in the first place. If a change in this ideology is made I think Walker would be a better fit for the team at OLB where he can use his strengths despite his need to be stronger in other areas.