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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Vance Walker

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 304 | College: Georgia Tech
 
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Overview

With teammates such as Michael Johnson, Darryl Richard and Derrick Morgan, Walker did not appear in the headlines often, but Vance Walker gets plenty of credit for the defensive success of the Yellow Jackets from the Georgia Tech coaching staff. The hard worker was the anchor of the line.

With his coaching staff and teammates, along with opposing coaches and players all signing his praises, he was named an All-American third-team pick and Bednarik Award semifinalist as a junior. The accolades continued during his senior campaign when ESPN named him the Atlantic Coast Conference midseason Defensive MVP. Walker went on to capture All-ACC first-team honors and secure an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

At Fort Mill High School, Walker garnered third-team All-State honors from the Columbia State and was named to the Charlotte Observer's All-Observer first-team and all-Upper South Carolina first-team. The All-region and All-Area selection by the Rock Hill Herald was also a member of South Carolina's Shrine Bowl team. The team MVP recorded 17.5 sacks and 41 tackles behind the line of scrimmage as a senior.

Walker developed into a key contributor on the Georgia Tech defensive line as a true freshman. He played behind Mansfield Wrotto at left defensive tackle most of the season, earning a pair of starting assignments. He posted 15 tackles (12 solo) with a sack and three stops for loss to earn his first varsity letter.

Walker shifted to right tackle in 2006, starting two of 14 games for an injured Joe Anoai. He delivered 17 tackles for the campaign, including nine solo stops. The 2007 was his breakout campaign, capturing All-American and All-ACC honors. He started all 13 games at right tackle, as his 8.5 sacks rank 12th on the school single-season record list. He registered 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage among his 45 tackles (30 solo), causing three fumbles while recovering two others.

The senior was a preseason All-American choice, but Walker had a few injury glitches during the 2008 season. He suffered from a violent helmet-to-helmet collision that brought upon concussion-like symptoms in the third game vs. Virginia Tech, but despite being shut down in practices, he was back on the field the next game. An ankle sprain late in the season forced him to sit out the Miami clash and he did not record any statistics in his last four games, finishing with 33 tackles (18 solo), three sacks and 8.5 stops for loss.

Analysis

Positives: Flashes initial quickness off the snap. … Locates the football quickly and has the short-area burst to close. … Has the upper-body strength and is effective enough with his hands to rip off his man and pressure the quarterback or corral backs in the hole. … Short, squatty build with long arms that helps him hold up against double-team blocks and in short-yardage situations due to his natural leverage advantage. … Good lower-body strength to push the pocket. … Uses his hands to get off blocks up front to get to the ball. … Hustles downfield and chases down the line to help his teammates.

Negatives: Too short and lacks the girth to fit some defensive systems. … Must prove himself quick enough to beat NFL interior linemen one-on-one. … Impressive statistics inflated by the aggressive blitzing and stunting Georgia Tech defensive philosophy. … Seems to guess at the snap count often, leading to instances when he's the first lineman off the ball, and others where he's the last. … Lacks a variety of moves as a pass rusher.

Compares To: TANK TYLER, Kansas City -- Walker will work in the trenches and has a good bull rush, but does struggle to recognize blocking schemes and locate the ball on the move. When he stays low in his pads, he shows enough power in the lower body to stack and defeat the one-on-one blocks. There is no question that he plays with good effort and desire, but outside of the short area, his lack of speed prevents him from making plays in long pursuit.

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT

GRADE: 6.16

Body Structure: Walker has a thick frame with good lower-body muscle definition, very thick thighs and calves, wide hips, thick chest and an outstanding wingspan with very large hands.

Athletic Ability: Walker shows decent quickness off the snap, but is not sudden in his moves. He has good balance and keeps his feet, but struggles when having to move laterally. He flashes enough quickness in the short area to stack, but might be better suited for a one-gap system, as he does not have the agility you look for in a three-tech defensive lineman. He is a short stepper who might get out of control at times, but he plays with a non-stop effort. GRADE: 6.1

Football Sense: Walker needs to do a better job of recognizing blocking schemes. He gets tied up quite a bit in one-on-one battles when he fails to keep his weight down and use his hands inside his frame. He gets caught out of position when he over-commits. He shows a good understanding of the playbook and is a good student, but needs to make good reads at the line, as he sometimes will not react quickly enough due to marginal lateral agility. GRADE: 5.4

Character: Coaches like the quiet kid, saying he is compliant, responsible and has never been a problem off the field. He is close to his teammates and follows rules. He is very serious about pursuing a pro football career and will work hard to improve. GRADE: 6.3

Competitiveness: Walker is a tough, highly competitive player who gives consistent effort and plays with solid intensity. He has enough strength to stack and shed and gets very physical trying to shoot the gaps. He reminds some observers a lot of Baltimore's Kelly Gregg because he realizes -- but is not held back by -- his athletic limitations. GRADE: 6.7

Work Habits: Walker has been called the hardest worker on the team. He motivates others with his work ethic and is a "take charge" type in the trenches. He has very good self motivation, but is limited with his lateral agility and change of direction. He does the little extras to improve and has excellent lower-body strength, but with marginal explosion and lateral movement, he is more of a stay-at-the-line type. GRADE: 6.3

ATHLETIC REPORT

GRADE: 5.84

Explosion/Pursuit: Walker lacks timed speed, but he can generate suddenness off the ball (just in the short area, but enough to shock an offensive lineman). He is quick to gain an edge on a blocker and works his hands hard. He will flash some explosion and gain movement coming off the ball. He has the ability to snatch and stack, but gets his best production working along the line and vs. plays directed at him. GRADE: 5.5

Strength at Point: Walker is a bull on the line. He demands double team coverage and if he stays low in his pads, he's difficult to move out. He has the lower leg drive and powerful anchor to hold ground firmly and is the type that will settle down and fight in the trenches. GRADE: 7.2

Use of Hands: Walker has a punishing punch, but must maintain them inside his frame and keep them active. He does do a lot of short-arming on the move, but can control blockers with his hand strength. When working down the line, he becomes too inconsistent delivering a jolt. He needs to generate more quickness getting his hands into the blocker on the move, but he uses them more efficiently to get underneath to attain inside leverage. GRADE: 6.0

Lateral Pursuit/Effort: While he shows intent, Walker has marginal lateral quickness and ability to work over trash. He still manages to get good separation, despite a lack of a sudden closing burst, but is not the type that will pressure the pocket. He just can't run down plays working down the line of giving chase in the backfield. GRADE: 4.9

Tackling Ability: Walker hunkers down, extends his arms, wraps and secures the ballcarrier on plays directed at him. He seems more comfortable playing the gaps and lining up over the center's head, where his hand punch can generate more power. When he locks on to an opponent, he drives hard with his legs and generates a push to drive the ballcarrier back. Simply put, if he hits you, he will stop you. Playing in the open field, he does not have the quickness, change-of-direction agility nor does he take good angles to face up and hit in the second level. GRADE: 6.3

Run Defense: Walker uses his low center of gravity to leverage and hold ground at the point of attack, where he does a good job of stacking. He keeps his feet free in the short area and has some two-gap potential. When he operates vs. double teams, he struggles to shed and work across blocks when he short arms. GRADE: 6.5

Pass Rush: Walker can get some push, but is not as quick as you like to see him in attempts to get an edge. He will arrive in the backfield with good intent, but gets out of control at times and will miss in space. He is not to be considered a pass rusher, but more of a bull rusher whose success comes when he gets under the blocker's pads and generates a surge through the gap. GRADE: 5.7

Closing on the QB: Walker has a short burst, but will get out of control and miss (had only one pressure). He lacks a variety of moves, relying mostly on his spin. When he is able to break free from the trash, he has enough short-area speed to flush the quarterback out but rarely completes the sack. GRADE-5.4

Instincts/Recognition: Walker lacks a good feel for blocking pressure, but shows aggression taking on the guards and centers. He plays with adequate instincts, and is slow to recognize the play developing, especially blocking schemes and play action. He is best when kept in run containment along the line rather than recognition, reactions and awareness. GRADE: 5.1

Compares To: TANK TYLER, Kansas City -- Walker will work in the trenches and has a good bull rush, but does struggle to recognize blocking schemes and locate the ball on the move. When he stays low in his pads, he shows enough power in the lower body to stack and defeat the one-on-one blocks. There is no question that he plays with good effort and desire, but outside of the short area, his lack of speed prevents him from making plays in long pursuit.

OVERALL GRADE: 5.89

--Report by Dave-Te Thomas

Career Notes

Walker started 29-of-49 games at Georgia Tech, including 14 at left defensive tackle and 15 on the right side … Recorded 110 tackles (69 solos) with 13 sacks for minus-79 yards and 26.5 stops for losses totaling 107 yards … His sack total ranks 15th on the school career-record list and his tackle for loss total rank 20th … Registered 8.5 sacks as a junior, the 12th-best season total in Tech history … Also caused four fumbles, recovered three others and deflected one pass.

2008 Season

Consensus All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection … Super Sleeper Team pick by The NFL Draft Report … Named the league's mid-season Defensive Most Valuable Player by ESPN … Started twelve games at left defensive tackle … Suffered concussion-like symptoms vs. Virginia Tech and missed the Miami contests while seeing minimal action vs. Georgia and Louisiana State after suffering a high ankle sprain that forced him to sit out most of the North Carolina clash … Finished with 33 tackles (18 solo) and 8.5 stops for losses of 25 yards, including three sacks for minus-7 yards … Caused a fumble and had one pass deflection … One of his stops behind the line of scrimmage resulted in a safety.

2008 Game Analysis

Jacksonville State … Opened the season with three tackles, including one that stopped tailback Drec Lindley for a 4-yard loss on a late first quarter rushing attempt … Head to Head Competition-OG#55-Al Jefferson (6:03-299).

Boston College … Registered four tackles (3 solos), a sack and a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage … In the fourth quarter, he chased down QB Chris Crane, sacking him in the end zone for a safety … It was the first safety recorded by a Tech team since 2004 … Head to Head Competition-OG#78-Thomas Claiborne (6:03-323).

Virginia Tech … Before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury, Walker posted four tackles, including one that took down halfback Darren Evans behind the line of scrimmage in the fourth stanza (Walker was hurt on that play) … Head to Head Competition-OG#70-Sergio Render (6:03-308).

Mississippi State … Kept out of practice due to concussion-like symptoms, Walker managed to sneak out on the field, despite his coaches' concerns and came up with three tackles and a pass deflection … Chased down QB Tyson Lee on a bootleg for a 5-yard loss midway through the third quarter … Head to Head Competition-OG#78-Michael Gates (6:04-307).

Gardner-Webb … Walker collected a season-high nine tackles (5 solos) that included a sack and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage … Sacked QB Stan Doolittle for a 1-yard loss in the second quarter … Helped preserve the 10-7 victory when Walker took down slot back David Montgomery for a 1-yard loss and then stopped the runner for no gain, forcing the punting unit on to the field with 3:06 left in the game … Head to Head Competition-OG#66-Austin Osment (6:03-294).

Clemson … Walker had only three tackles, but he stripped the ball from tailback James Davis on a third quarter rushing attempt … Head to Head Competition-OG#62-Mason Cloy (6:03-315).

Florida State … Added three more tackles with 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a 2-yard sack of QB Christian Ponder in the third quarter … Head to Head Competition-OG#79-David Spurlock (6:05-289).

2007 Season

Earned All-American third-team honors from the Associated Press and Rivals.com … Added first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in his first full season as a starter, lining up at right defensive tackle … His 8.5 sacks for minus-57 yards rank 12th on the school season-record list … Recorded a career-high 45 tackles (30 solos), including 14.5 stops for losses of 63 yards … Caused three fumbles and recovered two others … Had at least one tackle behind the line of scrimmage in 11 regular-season games.

2007 Game Analysis

Forced a fumble and had 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage in the season opener at Notre Dame … Forced another fumble, registered five total tackles and sacked Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan for a loss of eight yards … Produced six tackles, including four solos, a sack for minus-12 yards and recovered a fumble at Virginia … Was in the Maryland backfield all afternoon with 3.5 stops for loss, including a pair of sacks … Added seven unassisted tackles and a sack vs. Virginia Tech … Recovered a fumble and had 1.5 sacks in the win over North Carolina (Nov. 17).

2006 Season

Was the top reserve at both defensive tackle positions, appearing in 14 games that included starts at right tackle vs. Notre Dame and Clemson … Switched jersey numbers from No. 57 to No. 99 for 2006 … Recorded 17 tackles (9 solos) with an assisted sack for a 1-yard loss … Had that sack along with three tackles vs. Notre Dame … Added four more tackles in his other 2006 starting assignment vs. Clemson.

2005 Season

Appeared in 10 games as a true freshman, filling in as the starter at right defensive tackle for an injured Joe Anoai vs. Duke … Played mostly on the left side behind Mansfield Wrotto, as he made 15 tackles (12 solo) with a 14-yard sack and three stops for losses of 18 yards … In his first career start, he posted five tackles vs. Wake Forest … Also started vs. Utah in the Emerald Bowl … Recovered a fumble in Tech's win over Clemson … Had a sack for a 14-yard loss vs. North Carolina State … Added a tackle-for-loss vs. Duke.

Injury Report

2008: Left the Virginia Tech game (9/13) after suffering a head injury in the fourth quarter … Did not play vs. Miami (11/20) and though he started, he saw minimal action vs. Georgia (11/29) and Louisiana State (12/31) after leaving the North Carolina game early (11/08) with an ankle sprain.

2009: Could not complete agility tests at the NFL Combine or participated in Tech's Pro Day (3/09) due to a right hamstring pull.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.64 20-yard shuttle … 7.47 three-cone drill.

Combine: 5.32 in the 40-yard dash … 1.75 10-yard dash … 2.94 20-yard dash … 33-inch vertical jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times … 35-inch arm length … 11 1/8-inch hands … Could not run 20-yard shuttle or three-cone drill or do broad jump following hamstring strain.

High School

Attended Fort Mill (S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Greg Taylor … Garnered third-team All-State honors from the Columbia State and was named to the Charlotte Observer's All-Observer first-team and All-Upper South Carolina first-team … The All-region and All-Area selection by the Rock Hill Herald was also a member of South Carolina's Shrine Bowl team … The team MVP recorded 17.5 sacks and 41 tackles behind the line of scrimmage as a senior.

Personal

Management major … Son of Janet and Gary Walker … Born Vance Jack Walker on 4/26/87 … Resides in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

 
Latest News
04/27/2009 - A closer look at the Falcons' picks: Round 7/210 -- Vance Walker, DT, 6-2, 304, Georgia Tech...Played alongside more heralded players Michael Johnson and Darryl Richard, but did most of the dirty work. Had 26.5 career tackles for loss, including 13 quarterback sacks. Had a rough senior season, suffering a concussion and an ankle injury.

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