In general, inside linebackers who are natural fits in a 4-3 scheme are both rare and not terribly exciting. They have such broad duties and requirements that it can be tough to find a linebacker who can play on most snaps in a 4-3 scheme. But, since they don’t get to rush the passer much, and don’t come away with many takeaways, they get lost in the shuffle in favor of more “exciting” positions.
Northwestern’s Anthony Walker Jr. is one of those linebackers who isn’t getting much attention but could make some defensive coordinator very happy.
Given the New York Giants’ perpetual need at linebacker, is Walker a fit?
- High football IQ. Active leader for a good Northwestern defense.
- Shows little to no hesitation coming downhill.
- Takes accurate first steps toward the action.
- Dependable run defender. Stays disciplined and fills his gap well, flashes the ability to shed blocks.
- Shows a good awareness of the play.
- Great effort in pursuit.
- Long speed and range in coverage are a question.
- Played a bit too heavy in 2016 and it showed.
- Very short arms.
- Makes plays behind the line of scrimmage, but not often used as a pass rusher.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Walker would fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. It works best when it has a heady field general at MIKE linebacker who can stay on the field for the majority of snaps and direct traffic. It’s a bit much to assume that Walker could step in and play that role as a rookie, but he could probably grow into it over time.
Unfortunately for Walker, that’s a role the Giants seem to have in mind for 2016 fourth round pick B.J. Goodson.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 96th overall
CBS Sports - 111th overall
Draft Countdown - 106th overall
Draft Tek - 106th overall
This is a very strong defensive draft overall, but this is not a great year for 4-3 linebackers. Because of that, players like Anthony Walker, who might not be great athletes but are just good football players, have slipped through the cracks a bit.
But Walker is a good football player. Some team will get him in the middle of the draft and be glad they did before his rookie contract is up.