2009 NFL Draft Retrospective: Defensive Tackle Vance Walker

This is the eighth and final entry in a series of articles examining players from the 2009 NFL Draft. The Falcoholic has almost finished cobbling together a retrospective on the season. You're probably relieved to have this over with, but for us, this is the end of an era...of love. Last on our list, seventh-round defensive tackle Vance Walker.

If I told you that our seventh round pick would be a solid contributor his first season, I think most of you would be pretty happy.  By that logic, I have to assume everyone's pretty thrilled with Vance Walker.

In many ways, Walker was the ultimate Thomas Dimitroff draft pick. He filled a position of need, got a player with terrific fundamental skills and a guy who had a layer of polish on him already. It wasn't a swing for the fences type of choice, but from day one I thought VW could get reps in 2009 and he certainly did. It was kind of amazing to me that he made it all the way to the seventh round, but it could have had something to do with his relatively short and stocky frame.

It ended up being critically important because of the injuries to Peria Jerry and Trey Lewis, and Walker's locked down a spot in the defensive tackle rotation with 13 tackles and a clear level of comfort with the Falcons' defensive schemes. Frame is far from an issue for Walker, who's carrying three bills and yet still has enough explosiveness to get into the backfield. The Georgia Tech product's blend of athleticism and size makes him a candidate for the top backup to both Jonathan Babineaux and Peria Jerry, and I'm confident he's got the drive to take that position. The only thing standing his way? Another draft pick, if the Falcons think the depth chart needs a depth charge.

And since we're finishing with Walker, I think he's a good example of why this draft wasn't a total failure. Many of you seem to think that because Peria Jerry and William "C4" Moore were injured, the draft was basically a loss. It wasn't as sexy or immediately successful as 2008, true, but guys like Vance Walker could be around for a long time, providing the kind of value every good team needs. It's something to keep in mind as we move into the 2010 draft, where the talent pool is deep and Dimitroff will be scouring for bargains as late as possible.

Is Walker the next (first?) superstar defensive tackle for the Falcons? Unlikely. Is he awfully good for a seventh round pick? You bet your ass. Let's see what 2010 brings for him.

Initial Draft Grade: B+

Final Grade: B

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Falcoholic

You must be a member of The Falcoholic to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Falcoholic. You should read them.

Join The Falcoholic

You must be a member of The Falcoholic to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Falcoholic. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker