DeMarcus Walker, DL
Like with Foster, there’s a chance DeMarcus Walker is gone by the time the Saints get back on the clock with the 42nd pick. Maybe I’m being a bit optimistic.
But if the Saints do manage to land Walker, he could be a force. Walker is a high effort, sound technique sort of player. He could play EDGE or slide inside on passing downs. With Nick Fairley’s future uncertain, that could be an asset for the Saints come draft day.
And there is a very good chance that Walker lands this far down the board. He’s a bit of a tweener position-wise. Most analysts compare him to Bears DE Jonathan Bullard, who’s lack of clear position pushed him down to the third round. And Bullard struggled in his rookie year. Neither player is quite as explosive as you’d like in a DE, and not quite as big as you’d like for a DT.
But Walker stands to be a better player than Bullard. He has the size and the strength, and proved over the years at FSU that he can get after the quarterback.
But like I said, be warned Saints fans. Walker isn’t the sort of explosive, Vic Beasley-type rusher. He gets solid push off the line but doesn’t explode to the quarterback. But he has the tools to be a solid, three-down DE in the NFL. He’s got length, strength, and by all accounts has the mental makeup.
He’s a senior, and Sean Payton loves his seniors. For good reason. You’re getting an older, more developed player but for the same amount of time.
The Saints will likely go after a top DE talent in free agency, and the sort of player that they manage to bring in will determine to a large extent the sort of pressure player they look to add in the draft. But if they do left Nick Fairley walk, as I expect they will, Walker would be the perfect prospect to line up wherever he’s needed along the D-Line.