Darius Walker, RB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
by Brian Dean
on February 12, 2007 @ 16:00:00
Darius Walker was a big-time college football recruit out of Buford High School in Georgia. Walker was an extremely productive running back over his short career with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He hit the ground running in South Bend, literally, setting the freshman rushing record with 786 yards. Walker followed that up with even better sophomore and junior seasons, increasing total yardage while also gaining more yards per carry in the process.
Walker, surprisingly to most scouts and draftniks, declared for the draft after his junior season. He was on pace to set the school's all-time rushing record if he had stayed. He ended up ranking fourth with 3,249 career rushing yards. One record Walker did leave with is career receptions for a Fighting Irish running back with 109. That number is astounding when you consider that it's good enough for 11th in Notre Dame history - including receivers - behind 2006 teammates Rhema McKnight and Jeff Samardzija.
Table: Darius Walker - Career Statistics (2004-06)
Walker's best assets are his hands and receiving ability. He will make his impact, especially early in his career, catching the ball. Walker is an elusive runner in the open field and can make things happen when the ball is in his hands.
At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Walker can run with some power between the tackles and break tackles when he has to, although that isn't his forte. His build is compact, but not small, with good leg strength and potential to add more weight.
Walker runs an estimated 4.50 40-yard dash, but the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine will be the true test of that. While that is not a bad time, it also isn't great for a player who will have to start out as a change-of-pace back at the next level.
While compact, Walker isn't very big or powerful, either. Walker might believe he's better than scouts do and leaving school early could be testament to that. He is sort of in limbo as a prospect, because he has a little bit of everything but is missing that "wow" factor.
Despite Walker's production and variety of skills, he doesn't rank with elite running backs as a prospect. Most scouts tend to see him as a third-down back in the NFL in the mold of New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk. Some scouts even like him as a slot receiver.
With great combine workouts, Walker is likely to be a mid-to-late second-round pick due to the fact he is still growing into his body at 21 years old, but he could just as easily slide into the third or fourth rounds with average combine numbers.
At this point, Walker is likely a third-round pick. Scouts could fall in love with his versatility and take him higher, though. He is close in style to running back Tiki Barber, and he could follow the same path of being a scatback until he fills out more physically.
About Brian Dean
Brian "Birdman" Dean has been a contributor at KFFL since 2005. This musician and lifelong athlete is known at KFFL for his foresight and dead-on predictions, as witnessed by his back-to-back NFL mock draft title.
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