Why isn’t the ACC Defensive Player of The Year being talked about more?
There is an incredible number of talented Pass Rushers in the 2017 NFL Draft. Whether that position is “deeper” or “stronger” than the similarly stacked running back and defensive back classes is a debate for another time.
Right now we’re taking a look at one of the most productive Pass rushers in the draft, Florida State defensive end DeMarcus Walker. Walker finished the 2016 season with an impressive 16 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss on his way to being named the ACC defensive player of the year.
He isn’t getting nearly as much recognition as many other pass rushers in the draft, but if the New York Giants are looking to add to their pass rush, could Walker be on their radar?
Height - 6 feet, 3 inches
Weight - 273 pounds
40 Time - 4.86 (projected)
- Highly productive player who has gotten better every year.
- Flashes good hand usage to win battles and beat blockers.
- Compact, powerful frame gives him good natural leverage.
- Played both defensive end positions as well as the 3-technique.
- Very effective interior rusher.
- First step is a question. Walker is occasionally the last player moving off the snap.
- Will play upright when fatigued, losing leverage.
- Doesn’t seem to play up to his stats. Can be a non-factor for long periods before making a play.
- Doesn’t play with the bend you’d like to see from a premier edge rusher.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
As of now, I think I would pass.
Assuming the Giants re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, I think they should prioritize an athletic pass rusher over a base end. Also, Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Romeo Okwara have greater athletic upsides than Walker, assuming they can bring their full physical tools to bear.
Walker’s ability to slide inside could intrigue the Giants, who like to use defensive ends as interior pass rushers. In fact, he seems to be at his most productive when rushing inside, or using an inside counter move.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 80th overall
Mocking The Draft - N/A
CBS Sports - 54th overall
Draft Countdown - 79th overall
Draft Tek - 48th overall
Walker was an interesting player to watch on tape, and just a bit disappointing.
The first game I watched was the season opener against Ole Miss, which saw him notch a ridiculous 4.5 sacks on top of six total tackles. I was expecting to see a player who was much more active than I saw. Rather than dominating his blockers like you would expect from that stat line, Walker was often a non-factor or an afterthought on many plays. When he had success it was with a quick arm-over or swim move on an inside rush, rather than beating his blocker with a quick first step, converting speed to power and showing off a natural bend. And while his swim move was effective, it also opens his body up to blockers, which could (or even will) get him into trouble at the next level.
Scouting a player based on his box score is always treacherous, but Walker’s 2016 production can’t be ignored either. Perhaps he might be better served by slimming down a bit to improve his play speed and conditioning. He has shown the ability to get to the quarterback and make plays, but he just doesn’t seem to show up the way you would expect him to based on his stats.