Mykal Walker isn’t the biggest name in the draft, but if all goes well, the Falcons will have gotten another starting-caliber linebacker in the fourth round, just as they did with De’Vondre Campbell back in 2016. They might be getting more than that, too.
Walker played all over for Fresno State, rushing the passer, playing linebacker, dropping back at free safety and corner very occasionally, and dominating on special teams, where he blocked three kicks last year. Walker said he doesn’t know where he’s going to play just yet, and while Jeff Ulbrich is likely excited to get his hands on him and try to mold him into a starter, the Falcons will find good use for him on teams in year one and potentially as a pass rusher now and in the future.
Talking to New #Falcons LB Mykal Walker. We discussed his big game against USC. He looks like a coverage linebacker to me with the 17 passes defense. They moved him around around lot. Played edge rusher in 7 games.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) April 25, 2020
He said he estimates 60 percent of his snaps last year at Fresno St. were at inside linebacker. Also rotated a lot at OLB, DE.— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) April 25, 2020
That versatility would be enough to earn him a roster spot even if he didn’t have a lot of intriguing traits, but Walker is a good athlete and a definite force of nature against the run on his best days. Most of the knocks on his game pertain to his lack of fluidity and coverage chops, which could cost him a prominent role in the short-term, but I wouldn’t rule out bigger things ahead for him.
Falcons select Mykal Walker out of Fresno State. Tough linebacker who played inside and as a standup linebacker on occasion on pass downs. Might be a likely SLB in the NFL. 182 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss the past two seasons.— Eric Robinson (@_Eric_Robinson) April 25, 2020
Overall, this has been a fun, intriguing draft class, and surprisingly one where the Falcons haven’t moved up or down at all. What are your thoughts regarding Walker?