Demarcus Walker Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Uses hands and feet at the same time
Uses a variety of pass-rushing moves
Has a good rip move
Too fast in the pass rush for interior blockers
Clutch, fourth-quarter play-maker
Took over games late
Smart to go for strip
Tough run defender
Strong at point of attack
Ability to bull rush
Quick to close
Strength to shed blocks
Can line up in a variety of spots in a 4-3
Plays with good leverage
Good work ethic
Poor redirection ability
Not a good fit in a 3-4 defense
Some sacks come on second effort
Summary: While some were projecting Walker to be a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, WalterFootball.com sources shared that they were giving him second-day grades before he decided to return to the Seminoles. Walker had broken out as junior with 10.5 sacks with 15.5 tackles for a loss, five passes batted, 58 tackles and four forced fumbles.
Walker had a phenomenal 2016 season that started with an electric opener of 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles to help lead a huge Florida State comeback over Ole Miss. On the year, the senior totaled 68 tackles with 16 sacks, 21.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and two passes batted. Walker was a clutch defender who dominated some fourth quarters against good opponents. When it was crunch time, he really stepped up and provided some huge game-changing plays for Florida State.
As a run defender, Walker is tough at the point of attack. He is strong to hold his gap and can get off a block to flow down the line for tackles. Walker has developed upper-body strength and a thick base that help him to maintain good gap integrity. For the NFL, he could play right or left end in a 4-3 defense on rushing downs.
Walker has a real presence in the pass rush. He was hugely important for Florida State as he really rushed well late in games, and there were games where he dominated in the second half to help the Seminoles make comebacks or close the door on the opponent. Walker doesn't have elite speed or athleticism off the edge, but he finds a way to get the job done with good moves, a steady motor, and a functional skill set. Walker deploys a nice variety of pass-rushing techniques. He has a good rip move with leverage to beat tackles around the edge. He also has a swim move, and when playing inside over guards as Walker was too quick for many interior linemen.
Walker has good instincts and is smart to go for strips when taking down the quarterback. While he isn't a twitchy athlete with a great ability to bend, Walker plays with good pad level and rushes with leverage. He also gives a second effort and doesn't quit on plays. If Walker's skill set were a little better, he would be a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
For the NFL, Walker would fit best in a 4-3 defense. He could be a base end on run downs and move inside in passing situations. Walker is a little short on length to be a 3-4 defensive end and isn't enough of an athlete to stand up as an outside linebacker. In a 3-4, he would have to play as a five-technique defensive end who rushes from the inside in the sub package. Sources say they expect Walker to be second-day pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he could easily go in Round 2.
Player Comparison: Charles Johnson. Walker reminds me of a taller version of Johnson. Both are hard-charging pass-rushers who find a way to be effective despite not having elite skill sets. Johnson (6-2, 275) was a second-day pick, and Walker should go on Day 2 as well.
NFL Matches: Dallas, Detroit, Miami, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New York Jets, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Washington and Tampa Bay
There are a lot of potential fits for Walker in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. In the early portion of the second round, there some possible landing spots for him. First, San Francisco needs an edge rusher for its defense, followed by the Jets, who could also use an edge rusher. Cincinnati could be a fit for Walker as well. The Bengals need a rusher opposite Carlos Dunlap as Michael Johnson is a limited player.
Carolina would be a good fit for Walker and has shown interest in him. It wouldn't be surprising if Walker was taken by the Panthers. The Saints have to upgrade their defense and improve agains the pass. One specific need if for an edge rusher across from Cam Jordan. Walker could get consideration with New Oreleans' second-round pick. Staying in the NFC South, Tampa Bay could take another pass-rusher to go across from Noah Spence.
Indianapolis needs help all over its defense. Walker would upgrade the Colts' edge rush, as John Simon and Jabaal Sheard are more complementary pass-rushers, but Walker isn't a great fit for a 3-4 defense. Similarly, the Ravens need more pass rush after cutting Elvis Dumervil, but Walker may not be a fit for their 3-4 scheme either.
Philadelphia could consider taking Walker as the team could use an end to pair with Brandon Graham, while in the same division, Washington wants to get younger and more athletic up front. Walker would be able to play rush linebacker across from Ryan Kerrigan.
Among the playoff teams, Walker could have a few landing spots. The Lions could use defensive line help, and could their edge rush across from Ziggy Ansah. Miami could use a young edge rusher after cutting Mario Williams, because the team still has Cameron Wake aging. The Cowboys need to improve their pass rush, and Walker would make sense for their scheme. Atlanta needs an edge rusher to go on the other side from Vic Beasley.