Jimbo Fisher didn’t hold back when he was asked about DeMarcus Walker.
At the end of an interview a few weeks ago, the Florida State head coach said of his defensive end, “he is one of the best players in Florida State history.” There’s always a level of coach speak and talking players up this time of year, but Fisher doesn’t seem like one to throw praise around like that willy-nilly. You know when he says something like that it means an awful lot. And when you consider the history of the Seminoles on defense, it makes you pause and say, “holy crap. I can’t wait to see what Walker will do in this defense with all of that talent around him.”
Some even asked the question: How is there a whole round separating No. 1 pick Myles Garrett and Walker? When you look at the collegiate stats from the two, it’s a fair question. And rest assured, Walker has noticed.
“Even if I was the first pass rusher, I would have a chip on my shoulder,” he told the media after he was selected in the second round by the Denver Broncos. “But there’s even more now.”
Before the second round even started, Walker was in no mood for what had unfolded. He tweeted out “8 rushers got picked before me. PLEASE remember this.” There seems to be a theme in the players Elway and the Broncos are picking in this year’s NFL Draft, aside from both early picks being linemen, both of which were “needs” coming into the selection party.
They’re big, athletic, mean, nasty guys who want to prove they can play in the NFL. They also bring an attitude to their positions that impact their teammates, perhaps even the whole unit - offense and defense. When you look at the free-agent additions, it’s clear what Elway and Vance Joseph are building with this team. Denver isn’t going to take shit from anyone. The Broncos want to beat you up, throw you to the ground and repeat the sequence over and over and over. There is nothing finesse about Garett Bolles, Walker or any of the additions in free agency.
I mentioned earlier some asked why there was a gap between Garrett and Walker, and here are some of the numbers. For the 2016 season, Garrett finished with 33 tackles, 15 for loss and 8.5 sacks for Texas A&M. Walker finished with 67 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks. But it’s not just the numbers. As NFL analyst Brian Baldinger pointed out on Twitter, Walker has the best swim move in the draft. Baldinger added he will see a lot of one-and-ones and thrive in those situations. That’s the key right there. With the other pass rushers on this team, when Walker is on the field he will see nothing but a one-and-one.
Myles Garrett and Demarcus Walker..... why are there two whole rounds separating these players? pic.twitter.com/mHwTNlDqCi— David Cosce (@dcosce) April 27, 2017
I said in the column after the Bolles pick, it’s way too early to make a prediction one way or the other. Neither of these picks has even stepped on the practice field yet at the UCHealth Training Center. But neither of these selections are “band-aids” as I have seen some say. With Walker, he’s a player who can make an immediate impact. The other benefit of this selection is it will make last year’s second-round pick bust his ass to see the field. That player is, of course, Adam Gotsis. We often hear how much Elway loves competition and may the best player win. This is another example of that.
What I love more than the numbers and talent is the attitude. The belief that Walker has in himself that he is the best but that he also has to work for it. As Walker told the media in Denver on those teams that didn’t pick him when they had the chance, “I’ll show them.”