Why the Slide?: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

This series was created in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Over James Franklin’s run at Penn State, the Nittany Lions have produced a lot of players with impressive skill sets for the NFL. Rasheed Walker looked poised to continue that tradition thanks to possessing a very nice tool box for the pro level, including good size, quickness and athleticism. Walker was a starter for a few years and received some good preparation for the NFL. The consensus view had him as a second-day pick for the 2022 NFL Draft, but Walker slid to the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

In speaking to team sources, there were a variety of reasons that Walker slid. The biggest and most important was he had medical concerns. Teams were worried about his right knee and a meniscus issue. Walker also hurt himself by being overweight and showing a bad body at his pro day. Some also were concerned with Walker having a low football IQ and struggling with attention to detail in the playbook, and some team sources said there were character concerns as well.

The Green Bay Packers ended Walker’s fall in the seventh round, and they were a mixed landing spot for Walker. On the negative side, the Packers have a talented veteran offensive line and Walker does not have a clear path to become a starter. They also drafted UCLA’s Sean Rhyan in the third round and Wake Forest’s Zach Tom in the fourth round, so those two will likely take two other roster spots. Walker might be more of a candidate to compete for a spot on the practice squad. On the positive side, Walker landed with a team that has done a superb job of developing offensive linemen taken after the first round. Learning from excellent veterans like David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins could really help Walker. Walker will have to show some versatility to be a backup, but he has a good opportunity for a backup job or practice squad spot with the Packers.

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