With the 22 pick in the NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Georgia linebacker Quay Walker. The draft pick was oddly received amongst the NFL community as people felt that the Packers should have drafted a wide receiver. It’s taken months for people to realize the true impact that the draft pick held for the future of this Packers defense.
What Walker Brings to the Table
Quay Walker was ultimately a big addition to the Packers defense, giving them depth to a position that has been a weak spot since the late 2010s. Walker is extremely athletic, running a 4.5 second 40 yard dash while standing at 6’4 and weighing 241 pounds. Walker is almost a mirror image to Packers All-Pro Linebacker: De’Vondre Campbell. Both players are field generals with amazing run stopping ability. Walker is a productive run stopper that fills a gap the Packers defense has struggled with the past couple of seasons. Another feather in Walker’s hat is his blitzing ability. Walker is able to use his athleticism to burst through the offensive line, ultimately applying immediate pressure to opposing Quarterbacks. With the loss of former Packers Linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who consistently led the team in quarterback pressures, adding another player who can fly through the offensive line and pressure the Quarterback was essential to maintain the dominance of the Green Bay Packers defense.
As no draft selection is perfect Walker, comes with both strengths and weaknesses. Walker struggles most when he is asked to drop back into coverage. This is due to his slow reaction time as he doesn’t always get to his coverage assignment, resulting in open receivers for the opposing team. As a unit, the Packers defense is quite exceptional in coverage, which will likely be weakened by Walker’s presence on the field. Another attribute upon Walker must improve is his ability to find tackling angles. Packers fans have been haunted by a lack of good tackling, their matchup against the New Orleans Saints in 2020 making for a great example of how bad tackling can lead to a loss. Another con is Walker often gets caught on the block when blitzing, and is unable to recover and is completely taken out of the play. Walker’s blitzing ability is a double edged sword, as it is one of his biggest strengths, but also leads to massive weaknesses.
Pick Grade + Final Opinions
After taking a deeper dive into Quay Walker,I firmly believe he is a perfect fit for the Packers defense. My only complaint about the pick is potentially reaching on him in the mid-first round when he was projected a mid-second round talent. Aside from the potential reach, it was a great pick from the Green Bay Packers front office. As I stated earlier, many Packers fans did not see the sense of the pick as we desperately needed a receiver, yet people also failed to realize the lack of linebacker depth past De’Vondre Campbell. When push comes to shove, I grade this pick a B+. I feel as if I cannot go any higher due to how far we reached knowing that players like Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean were on the board at the time of the Packers pick, however I cannot go any lower due to how well Walker will fit in with the Green Bay defensive scheme.