After a year of getting roughed up at the line of scrimmage (finishing 27th in the NFL in rush defense), then losing future Hall of Fame edge rusher DeMarcus Ware, getting tougher in the trenches was a priority of the Broncos heading into the 2017 offseason.
A top-50 recruit out of high school, Walker was highly recruited by Alabama and other schools in the SEC before signing with FSU.
Walker finished 2016 earning first-team All-ACC honors with a monster 21.5 tackles for loss to go with 16 sacks. Over the past two seasons at FSU, he totaled 25 sacks.
He notched four more tackles for loss in the Orange Bowl against Michigan. His production and leadership displayed at FSU made Walker a second round pick.
With the ability to play in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, Walker has the scheme versatility that new defensive coordinator Joe Woods can use in multiple packages. His ability to get to the QB and play with a relentless motor when chasing the ball-carrier is something that Bronco fans can get excited about.
“I’m just a relentless player with skills,” Walker said in a conference call after being selected.” I’m all in wherever they want me to play. I’m going to go after the quarterback to win games.”
After taking Shane Ray in the first round of the 2015 draft, and then a defensive end in Adam Gotsis in last year’s draft, Denver continues to bolster its defensive line, using another early pick on a defensive linemen.
Walker will join Derek Wolfe, Gotsis, Peko, Kerr and Jared Crick on the defensive line rotation. Putting two high-motor guys like Wolfe and Walker across from one another should put a little more fear in opposing QBs that already have to worry about pass rushers Ray and Von Miller.
With the “No Fly Zone” leading the charge on pass defense, shoring up the suspect run defense will help force opposing offenses to throw more on second and third downs.
On a defense full of Pro Bowlers, Walker seems excited about learning from his new teammates. Who specifically?
“All of them. You can never get enough knowledge. I’m going to learn from all of them,” he said.