Anthony Walker Jr., LB, Northwestern
Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham were superb for the Eagles in 2016. Unfortunately, Hicks is injury-prone and Bradham will be a free agent following the 2017 season. The Eagles lack depth at linebacker and with Mychal Kendricks‘ future in question, it might be a good idea for the Eagles to take a linebacker early in the draft.
Walker was a tackling machine during his three years at Northwestern. While he lacks ideal speed and athleticism, he has the tools necessary to be a successful attacking linebacker at the next level.
Here’s a scouting report on Walker, courtesy of NFL.com.
"STRENGTHS: Carries NFL thickness throughout his frame. Adequate straight-line pursuit speed. Flashes burst gear to close out runners looking to get the corner. Smart player with excellent work ethic. Considered a great teammate and leader. Instinctive downhill runner, and productive. Always looking to play tackles near the line of scrimmage. Works around second-level blocks with limp inside shoulder and upper body turn, causing blockers to miss the target and fall forward. Able to adjust path to the ball in space. Instinctive with good peripheral vision. Outstanding field awareness. Urgent helper on wide receiver screens and hitches. Plays with balanced eyes in coverage, darting between his coverage area and the quarterback’s eyes. Crowds target in his area, but willing to come off and hustle to a passing lane if he reads pass. Has 16 passes defensed over his three years. WEAKNESSES: Has some stiffness in his movement. Has been too muscle-bound and tight at times during career. Got too big, too fast. Missed tackle total on the high side. Comes downhill with some rigidity in his feet that prevent quick, lateral shifts. Sluggish to redirect his weight to mirror shifty runners in the hole or in open field. Should continue to work on functional flexibility. Will need to meet lead blocks with better knee bend and more force. Take-on skills need work. Feet are ahead of his hands when taking on climbing linemen. Allows blockers into his frame rather than punching and maintaining distance. Struggles to play off blocks. Can be obliterated and erased from his gap by angle blocks."