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Linebackers

Statistical Analysis and Scouting Reports for both Inside and Outside Linebacker NFL Draft Prospects.

NFL Draft 2017 Scouting Report: ILB Anthony Walker, Northwestern

 

NFL Draft 2017 Scouting Report: ILB Anthony Walker, Northwestern

*Our LB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

**This report was completed after the 2017 NFL Draft.

 

I don’t fully understand what the difference is between Northwestern ILB prospect Anthony Walker and Florida ILB prospect Jarrad Davis. I know one thing…one went a hell of a lot higher in the NFL Draft than the other (Davis #21, Walker #163).

A quick look at the measurables…

6′1″/238, 4.65 40-time, 7.23 three-cone, 23 bench reps, 30.5″ vertical, 30.4″ arms = Walker (2017)

6′1″/238, 4.62 40-time, 7.39 three-cone, 23 bench reps, 38.5″ vertical, 33.5″ arms = Davis (2017)

 

Davis has an advantage in vertical and with much longer arms…and arm length matters, to a degree. At a minimum, they are similar physically…speed, agility, strength. Davis with more pop in his legs and longer arms.

Performance-wise it’s Walker’s ballgame:

6.7 tackles, 0.78 TFLs, 0.25 sacks per game = Davis’s best season (2015)

9.2 tackles, 1.46 TFLs, 0.31 sacks per game = Walker’s best season (2015)

 

Whether by ‘best season’ or ‘career’, you will see Walker had better output in nearly every category versus Davis. And that’s been my ‘knock’ on Davis – every top ILB prospect seems to have performed better in college than Davis.

From what I see on tape, Walker and Davis have some similarities. They are like clones of each other to a certain point, but Walker just makes more plays and Davis is more often a step behind or watching too much instead of naturally reacting. It isn’t that Davis is ‘bad’, he’s just not a first-round talent to me. Or…if he is…then Walker had a case to be a first-rounder.

Watching Walker on tape, he moves pretty quickly – a nice first step/burst. He has good instincts to sniff out where the ball is. He can drop into coverage solidly. I enjoyed watching his tape against Stanford in Northwestern’s 2015 season opener. Several times, Walker was all over Christian McCaffrey. Had a nice coverage of him deep downfield on a wheel route attempt. He also read a screen pass set up to McCaffrey and made up ground and caught him from behind just as McCaffrey was about to turn up the field. I didn’t see where Walker was embarrassing himself in tracking with McCaffrey.

The tape is good, and Walker seems to be a model citizen and hard worker. He was an Academic All-Big Ten team member. He’s not an elite prospect, but he’s a very solid one.

 

Anthony Walker, through the lens of our “ILB” Scouting Algorithm

The 2015 Stanford game I referenced earlier – 10 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 2 PDs, and a fumble recovery.

Two weeks later, Walker had 19 tackles against Duke.

In his last 19 games, Walker has hit 10 or more tackles in a game seven times. Eight or more tackles in 12 times in his last 19 games.

Top 10 in the Big Ten in tackles in both 2015 (#3) and 2016 (#7).

Was #3 in the Big Ten in TFLs (19) in 2015, and is #38 all-time (since 2005) in the Big Ten with 38 career TFLs.

 

NFL Combine data…

6′0.5″/238. 30.4″ arms, 9.5″ hands

4.65 40-time, 4.34 shuttle, 7.23 three-cone

23 bench reps, 30.5″ vertical, 9′8″ broad jump

 

 

The NFL “ILB” that Anthony Walker most compares with statistically in college, within our system:

I didn’t have anyone come to mind when I watched Walker in action on tape, but then our computer models offered up David Harris – and that made a ton of sense to me.

 

ILB ratingsLastFirstYearCollegeHHWeightTackle Strength MetricSpeed Agility Metric
7.537Walker Jr.Anthony2017Northwestern60.52387.407.05
8.662HarrisDavid2007Michigan62.22439.419.82
5.167KwiatkoskiNick2016West Va62.02437.534.69
7.880RyanJake2015Michigan62.32408.457.65
5.454ReedTaylor2013SMU511.22408.785.47
9.550OgletreeAlec2013Georgia62.42429.206.09

 

*A score of 8.00+ is where we see a stronger correlation of LBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL LB.

All of the LB ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Tackle-Strength Metrics = A combination of several physical and performance measurements. An attempt to classify the LB prospect’s ability to stop the run, as well as to gauge how physical the player is, and the likelihood of higher tackle counts in the NFL. All based on profiles of LBs historically.

Speed-Agility Metrics = A combination of several speed, agility, and size measurements…as well as game performance data to profile an LB for speed/agility based on LBs historically. A unique measuring system to look for LBs that profile for quickness, pass-coverage ability, and general ability to cover more ground.

 

2017 NFL Draft outlook…

Walker was a top 150 prospect overall for us, our #5 ILB prospect going into the draft. Indianapolis took him #163. It’s a solid pick.

NFL Outlook: A perfect landing spot for immediate playing time. He might be the QB of the defense opening day. Part of that is Walker is a solid prospect. The other part is Indy has little talent at ILB right now.

 

rcf@collegefootballmetrics.com

 

– R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics.com and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics.com. Read more of his work on FantasyPros and various football websites. His group also provides player projections for fantasy software programs such as Advanced Sports Logic’s The Machine.

 

 
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