The Dallas Cowboys need edge rushers in the worst way, and while Florida State’s DeMarcus Walker has been graded as an EDGE prospect by some, he is graded on my board and scouting report as a 3T defensive tackle.
If there is one thing I love about scouting and following the NFL Draft more than anything else, it is delving into “draft philosophy” – or the ways 32 NFL teams build their boards, value players at different positions, and handle their picks as the valuable assets they are.
Working with the philosophy of you can never have too much of a good thing, DeMarcus Walker could be in play for the Cowboys with the 28th overall pick to add to an already deep rotation at defensive tackle.
How would DeMarcus be able to stand out among this group, and what strengths would he bring to Rod Marinelli’s defense? I’m glad you asked.
To put it simply, DeMarcus Walker has a chance to be what the Cowboys expected out of Tyrone Crawford when they signed him to a long-term deal, only to see him move to LDE this season.
… with so many NFL teams playing heavily in their “Nickel” packages it will be difficult for Walker to see the field on early running downs.
This quote from my full scouting report on Walker discusses one of the problems with using him in the NFL as a 3T DT, but a problem the Cowboys are well-suited to handle. Walker can be used as an interior pass rusher on obvious passing downs, while Dallas can equally feel comfortable with the likes of Cedric Thornton, David Irving, second-year player Maliek Collins, and even Tyrone Crawford holding down the interior defensive line positions on early downs.
It is important to remember that rookie defensive end prospects rarely produce a lot of sacks in their first season, so the biggest immediate upgrade for the Cowboys when it comes to getting to the quarterback likely comes at defensive tackle.
As mentioned, Walker excels in passing situations as a penetrating defensive tackle, seen here powering through a block after getting the guard off-balanced.
All of this isn’t to say that Walker couldn’t develop into a player that can contribute at LDE in certain situations – displaying the versatility that the Cowboys have coveted in their defensive linemen under Marinelli – along with the raw speed to make him an intriguing defensive tackle prospect.
Obviously, this quickness cannot be taught, and it is something that scouts will covet….
Walker’s grade on my 2017 NFL Draft board was just short of landing in the first round due to his lack of a complete game at either 3T DT or DE, but depending on how many players the Cowboys project into the first round there is a strong chance they’ll be drafting a second-round player off their board in the first round come April.
If this is the case, do not be surprised for a second if DeMarcus Walker is the pick, and in fact – be very excited for the future of this defensive line.
As hard-working of a player as you’ll find in this deep defensive line draft pool, expect DeMarcus to impress the best he can at the Combine in an effort to improve his stock.
DeMarcus Walker would fit in perfectly in the silver and blue when it comes to a defense that has realized, if they cannot get to opposing quarterbacks, putting the best athletes and tacklers on the field all at once is the way to go in forcing teams to drive methodically on them. This is why a defensive tackle like Walker could still be added with the highest pick the Cowboys have, all while bringing some much-needed top talent to this pass rush.