It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report is in the midst of our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but continuing today and through August 27th, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Vance Walker knows the opportunity in front of him. If he shines for the Denver Broncos, he has the chance to cash in like the guy he's hoping to replace.
Name: Vance Walker
Height: 6'2" Weight: 305
Age: 29 Experience: 8
College: Georgia Tech
More importantly, if he does play well, Walker will help his team win games and improve the chances of capturing back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Walker wants to be the answer when people ask: Who will replace Malik Jackson at defensive end?
Through five days of camp, he's taking advantage of this chance.
If all goes as expected, the production will top what we saw last year from this position.
The huge advantage that Walker has is he was in this system last season. And he played pretty dang well. Walker also witnessed what Jackson was able to do in this defense, and he can build off of that.
Last season, Walker finished with 33 tackles and two sacks.
Compare those to the numbers Jackson had and it's not far fetched to think Walker will have an even better year. Jackson finished with 45 tackles and five sacks, plus seven passes defended.
Walker knows the guys around him and what their tendencies are. He knows the coaches. But they also know him. Namely defensive line coach Bill Kollar.
That's the biggest reason Walker could shine this year for the Broncos.
Jackson had his best year a season ago, and it just so happened with Kollar as his position coach. That's not a coincidence.
With another year to work with Walker, Kollar will be able to bring out his best and help him improve his weaknesses.
"Vance has had a great camp," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said on Monday. "He's a tremendously strong player, good pass rusher, a good run player. He's played tremendous against the run the days that he's been out there. You can't run the ball to his side at all. I'm really pleased where Vance is."
Walker also has good size and mobility for a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme.
At 305 pounds, he's thicker than Jackson and is a few inches shorter. Athleticism is similar and Walker is just three years older.
It also never hurts to play on the best defense in the NFL, with the best pass rush and secondary.
The pieces are there for Walker to have his career year.
This is Walker's eighth year in the NFL, his second in Denver.
His best year prior to 2015 came in 2013 when he was in Oakland. That season for the Raiders, he tallied 40 tackles and three sacks. He spent four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons prior to his season in Oakland, and spent the 2014 season in Kansas City.
The point is Walker hasn't flourished at this stage in his career. He hasn't had a bad career, but he hasn't had a great one either. He's been a serviceable, rotational defensive linemen.
Got that ring pic.twitter.com/iOArDduvom— Vance Walker (@SwaggerVance99) June 13, 2016
The 2015 season was a good start, but can he build on that?
Until Walker does it consistently, that will remain the only doubt.
Barring injuries, Walker will be Jackson's replacement in the starting lineup come Set. 8 versus the Carolina Panthers.
As long as he remains strong against the run and creates a consistent pass rush, as Phillips said he's done at this point in camp, I have no doubt Walker will be better than Jackson was a season ago.
The opportunity is there for Walker, and he'll take full advantage of it.