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2024 NFL Draft prospect profile: Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina

Will Walker be a big play threat in the NFL?

Miami v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The wide receiver class looks to be absolutely stacked in the 2024 NFL Draft. Obviously the top of the draft is dominated by wide receivers and three could go in the first 10 picks. But this class is deep as well as talented and it’s possible that we could see twelve — or more — receivers selected in the first 50 picks.

That glut of talent has a way of covering up good players who might be down the depth chart a bit. One such receiver could be North Carolina’s Devontez Walker,

Walker is a long and athletic receiver who was not only a big play threat for Maye, but was also very reliable. The New York Giants certainly still need to add weapons to their offense, and either might not draft a receiver in the first round, or might decide to double-dip at the position.

If so, could Walker add more speed to the Giants’ passing game?

Prospect: Devontez Walker (9)
Games Watched: vs. Miami (2023), vs. Virginia (2023), vs. Duke (2023), vs. Clemson (2023)

Measurables

Height: 6-foot 1 12 inches
Weight: 194 pounds

Strengths

  • Length
  • Long speed
  • Acceleration
  • Ball skills
  • Hands

Devontez Walker is a long and athletic wide receiver prospect. He has great length with long arms and legs, as well as plenty of open field speed to take the top off of the defense. He’s a remarkably fluid athlete with a smooth, gliding stride that gives him deceptive speed down the field.

Walker primarily lined up as an outside receiver, though he did align in the slot on occasion. He has a solid release package and is able to get into his routes quickly against both zone and man coverage. Walker uses quick hand and footwork against man coverage, allowing him to slip past presses at the line of scrimmage and get into his routes efficiently. He’s also quick into his routes against zone coverage, accelerating hard off the line of scrimmage to get corners on their heels.

Walker shows some savvy and nuance in his route running, pressing the route stems of routes that break back towards the ball vertically to help create separation when he makes his break. Likewise, he can vary the tempo of his vertical routes to throw off defenders’ timing or lull them into a false sense of security before accelerating downfield.

He has solid ball skills downfield, doing a good job of locating and tracking the ball in the air, making adjustments, and extending to maximize his catch radius. Walker has soft hands and generally does a good job of plucking the ball out of the air. He’s able to use his speed to pick up chunk yardage after the catch, and has a definite second gear when he lengthens his stride in the open field.

Walker is a willing blocker on the perimeter and doesn’t shy away from contact.

Weaknesses

  • Weight
  • Play strength

Walker has great length, but he also has a whip-thin build that impacts several areas of his game.

While his quickness allows him to get off the line of scrimmage cleanly, he can have his routes influenced by physical coverage and he can be disrupted at the catch point. His weight (or lack thereof) can also impact his blocking. Walker is able to get into opponents’ chest plates, however stronger defenders are still able to overpower him and discard his blocks.

Walker will also need to develop as a route runner at the NFL level. Some things, such as his naturally high center of gravity can’t really be helped. But even so, he will need to work on his route precision and get his breaks as crisp as possible. Likewise, he wasn’t asked to run a particularly diverse route tree in college, and could benefit from defenders having less of an idea what’s coming.

Game Tape

Projection

Devontez Walker projects as a secondary outside receiver at the NFL level. Walker might not be a “starting” receiver, but he should be able to find a significant role for teams in search of a vertical threat. His ability to open his stride and run away from defenders could also give him upside on sweeps and screen plays as well.

Walker isn’t a particularly detailed or nuanced route runner at this point in his career. However, he does have the ability to get off the line of scrimmage against man coverage despite his slight build. Teams that want big, physical offensive players might look elsewhere, but Walker’s length and easy speed down the field will certainly appeal to a number of teams.

Does he fit the Giants?
Yes, although he has similar traits to Darius Slayton and Jalin Hyatt.

Final Word: A mid Day 2 pick