As the Denver Broncos continue to work through their OTA program, we are beginning to get bits and pieces of information on the players. One such player is defensive end DeMarcus Walker who was largely misused during his rookie year as he was asked to lose weight and play a position he had never played at outside linebacker.
The experiment was a complete failure. Fortunately, head coach Vance Joseph and his staff have been working hard to correct their error and help Walker get back to his natural playing weight. He’ll now compete for playing time on the interior of the defensive line.
“DeMarcus right now, he’s back to about 277-280,” Joseph said on Tuesday. “He looks good. Having him with Bill [Kollar] all the time has helped him. Last year he was kind of bounced around from outside linebacker to defensive line, but having him at one position has helped him a lot. He understands what Bill wants. Bill’s obviously a demanding coach, so being with Bill has helped DeMarcus play harder, and being bigger is going to help him play better for us.”
To hear that Walker to be thriving under defensive line coach Bill Kollar is a good sign. Kollar is probably the best defensive line coach in the NFL right now and has a knack for helping guys find ways to be productive in any situation.
Walker may be undersized inside, but if he can learn to use his speed and leverage he can be a productive defensive end in this defense. His teammates inside have taken notice too.
“First thing, he’s put on some weight,” Derek Wolfe said earlier this month. “His effort level is way above where he was. Bill [Kollar] is pushing him and trying to make him better. He’s trying to compete with everybody. He’s not complacent. He’s just trying to get better every day, and I’m proud of him.”
The veterans appreciate young guys who work their asses off and Wolfe is no different. Walker has gone from a big, slow 250 pound outside linebacker to a lighter, faster 280 pound 3-4 defensive end. That could pay dividends for the Broncos defense in 2018, especially in obvious passing situations.