Name: Charles Walker
Position fit: 3-technique with potential to play some 5-technique or rush from any spot along the interior in subpackages
Stats to know: Four batted passes on only 87 pass-rush snaps in 2016.
What he does best:
- Has positive run-defense grades for three-straight seasons.
- Locates the ball well on running plays even when engaged with a blocker.
- Good at keeping blockers away from his frame.
- Can shed blockers and get after the ball.
- Has shown he can play 5-technique defensive end or 3-technique defensive tackle.
- Positive pass-rush grades for the last two seasons.
- Uses his long arms to bat down passes when he can’t reach the quarterback.
- Effective bull, long-arm stab, club-rip and club-swim pass-rush moves.
- Seven sacks and 15 hurries in 2015 showed he offers some pass-rush ability.
- Outstanding snap-to-snap production on his 686 snaps the last three years, particularly in the run game.
- Leaves some plays on the table. Missed nine tackles on only 55 attempts over last three years.
- Missed five games due to injury in 2014.
- A lot of plays he makes come to him rather than him defeating his man.
- Struggled against Ohio State’s run-blockers in 2016.
- Missed multiple games in 2016 with a concussion.
- Quit Oklahoma football program with two games left so he could prepare for the draft. Not necessarily a long-term negative, but NFL teams will spend the time to understand further.
Player comparison: Malcom Brown, New England Patriots
From a pure production standpoint, Brown has been excellent against the run while providing little as a pass-rusher in his two years with the Patriots. Walker may have a similar start, contributing in the run game early on with hopes of developing as a rusher
Bottom line: Walker had a very productive 2015 season for the Sooners but missed multiple games in 2016 with a concussion. Walker then left the football program in November so he could focus on the draft, a decision that will be investigated further by NFL executives. Although the NFL has transitioned away from a base defense league, Walker can play 5-technique defensive end in a three-man front or he can play 3-technique defensive tackle in a four-man front. Walker’s positional versatility helps his value but his history of missing games could push him down in the draft.