Why Undrafted?: Charles Walker

By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Three years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, 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. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. A year later, we started the Why Slide? series, and this year, it is back. 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 respond.

Oklahoma has produced a lot of NFL defensive talent over the years, and there was some hype that defensive tackle Charles Walker would be a top prospect. Walker barely played in his final season of college football, but did impress in games against Houston and Ohio State. He only played in four games because of a concussion before quitting the Sooners program mid-season to start his preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper said prior to the draft that he thought Walker could have been a first-rounder had he played his entire final season at Oklahoma. When Walker declared for the 2017 NFL Draft, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Walker was expected to go high. However, that didn’t happen as Walker went completely undrafted.

Sources said there were just too many red flags with Walker to get drafted. He had mental health concerns related to having battled depression, and there were teams that had serious concerns about his football character. They had questions with his ability to transition to the pressure of the NFL. Walker also had some other medical red flags.

Walker signed with the Eagles after going undrafted, but then was quickly released by Philadelphia. He has sent out tweets that he expects to sign back with Philadelphia before training camp. Walker has a good skill set, but being unreliable to be on the field is a huge question mark. The Eagles also have a lot of depth and talent on their defensive line, so it will be hard for Walker to make the team. Perhaps the best plan for him would be to prove himself on the practice squad in 2017. If he is reliable at working and practicing, then he could put himself in position to compete for playing time in his second season.

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