DeMarcus Walker, the sack artist out of Florida State, has been selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round with the 51st pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
The former Seminoles defensive end racked up 27 career sacks in four seasons, earning first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors in 2016. Walker was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season, after the standout end totaled 16 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Why did Broncos pick Walker?
The defensive end’s pedigree and production speak volumes, but there’s a lot more to Walker’s game than what shows up in the box scores.
Walker can win in a variety of different ways, and his sack totals obviously display that. The defensive end has a devastating swim move and some of the most impressive hands of any prospect in this year’s class.
When it comes to hands, Walker — whose hands measure 10.5” — has some of the best of any player in this year’s draft class. Whether it’s getting his hands on passes (Walker deflected eight passes over the past three years) or delivering a vicious punch to an opposing lineman, Walker always manages to maintain active hands. Walker always seems to be the first to get his hands up in the trenches, and he always knows what to do with them when he’s engaged.
The defensive end’s short-area quickness is evident on film. Walker’s swim-move is lethal, and he frequently crosses the face of opposing linemen using his agility. Walker also knows how to recover, even when he loses the first punch. His balance, power and ability to shed on the edge make Walker a multifaceted talent at defensive end.
Are there any concerns with Walker?
For a player of Walker’s size, there are concerns with whether the former Seminole has the athleticism necessary to succeed on the edge. While Walker boasts his trademark swim move, his recovery ability hasn’t necessarily translated to that move in particular. Walker isn’t a great bender — he makes turning in space look far more difficult than it should be.
There are also questions about the defensive end’s motor. Walker appeared to tire at times gave some plays when the hustle wasn’t there. Fatigue seems to be a major factor with Walker, which means the defensive end could potentially find a niche as a situational edge rusher.