With the NFL Combine behind us and the 2022 NFL Draft just a month away, the final stages of the scouting process are starting to take shape. I’ve been hard at work grinding the tape to bring you detailed breakdowns of some of the top prospects available to the Atlanta Falcons throughout the draft, and I’m excited to finally share them with you now that the athletic testing has been finalized.
First, if you’re unfamiliar with my scouting reports from previous years, you can read about my grading system here. Please keep in mind this system is still in development, and may be adjusted as more data points come in.
Next up is another super-athletic linebacker prospect: Georgia’s Quay Walker. An elite athlete with a prototypical frame, Walker has a good chance of going early on Day 2.
LB | Quay Walker | Georgia | #7
Games watched: Auburn, Kentucky, Alabama (SECC)
Quay Walker is a toolsy, high-upside linebacker prospect who offers a tremendous frame and elite athleticism for the position. At nearly 6’4, 241, Walker put on a show with his Combine testing and cemented himself as a unique player in this class. As just a one-year starter at Georgia, there is a lot of growth needed for Walker to reach his ceiling. But that ceiling is easily one of the best all-around LBs in the NFL, and he showed some terrific flashes on tape.
Walker doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game. He plays the run with energy and physicality and has a tremendous tackle radius. Walker is a fluid mover and offers sideline-to-sideline range against the run. Those movement skills also translate well to zone coverage, where he can be an asset with his length and speed. While he wasn’t asked to do it much in college, Walker has the frame and athleticism to be a potential man coverage option against TEs.
One of the most important aspects of the linebacker position is instincts, and it’s an area where Walker needs development. The flashes are there, but Walker is often a little slow to trigger on plays. As such, his impact isn’t always maximized, though his athletic talents help him recover quickly. Walker will be drafted highly due to his upside, but he might take a little more time to acclimate to the NFL game than some of the more experienced LBs in the class.
Excellent tackler with wide tackle radius due to his length. Hits with aggressiveness and power. Physical finisher who reliably gets his man on the ground.
Run Defending: 5
Above-average run defender with lots of room for growth. Has some plus block-shedding ability due to his frame. Instincts still need refinement. A little slow to trigger on some plays and occasionally over pursues runners.
Good coverage player. Comfortable in zone with considerable upside in man due to his athletic profile. Smooth movement skills and length make him a plus matchup option against TEs and RBs.
Blitzing/Pass Rush: 6
Good blitzer. Disruptive through the A-gap and on stunts. Uses his athleticism and explosiveness to his advantage. Room to grow as an outside pass rusher.
Flexibility/Lateral Mobility: 8
Elite overall mobility. Easy, fluid mover with sideline-to-sideline range. Can turn and run effectively in man coverage and react quickly in zone.
Football IQ: 4
Solid football IQ with a lot of room for development. Only a one-year starter at Georgia. Generally good with his reads against the run and pass, but there are lapses. A bit slow to react at times and doesn’t always trust his instincts.
Competitive Toughness: 7
Excellent competitive toughness. Plays hard and fast with a good motor. Good player in pursuit and rarely gives up on the play.
Quality leadership skills with a lot of potential to grow. Took on communication responsibilities for Georgia in his first year as a starter.
Excellent versatility. Can play any linebacker position from outside to inside. Plus player against the run and pass. Offers some ability as a pressure player on the line of scrimmage.
Solid but unspectacular production. Only a one-year starter and didn’t play a full-time role in a stacked LB group at Georgia. 65 total tackles (37 solo), 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 PD in 2021.
Athleticism: 9.61, 19/20
Elite athlete with a unique size profile for the position. Exceptional frame at nearly 6’4, 241. Terrific speed, agility, and explosiveness.