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Eagles scouting report: 251st overall pick linebacker Joe Walker

 

The Eagles wrapped up their 2016 NFL Draft in ironic fashion, drafting linebacker and former Oregon Duck Joe Walker with the 251st overall pick. The Walker selection made it an even split for the Eagles with their eight draft picks (four on offense, four on defense). Whether or not the Walker pick was a subtle slight at Chip Kelly is something we'll never know.

Walker will likely need to make his bones on special teams or in sub packages at the next level. He likely got drafted off a strong showing at Oregon's pro day, but will still need to play with a considerable chip on his shoulder to crack an NFL roster. He's generally undersized and some scouts question whether he can play with the sort of aggression necessary for a player his size

What will help Walker down the road as a linebacker is his ability to field his position in the passing game. Most evaluations of Walker highlight his coverage ability, while doubting whether or not he can play against the run. Though he won't soon be shoo-ing the gaps to blow up plays in the backfield, it seems as if Walker is a willing tackler on plays down the field. 

Linebacker is an area of the defense where there are major question marks from a depth standpoint. Because of this, Walker will likely have a chance to show coaches what he's capable of with the 2nd string defense in training camp. If he's able to demonstrate a knack for the position and flash on special teams, he very well could end up on the roster. So much of making a team as a 7th round pick is opportunity for exposure. Walker will have that in Philadelphia, given the depth chart situation at linebacker. What he does with that is squarely up to him. 

Here's NFL.com's Lance Zierlein's take on Walker as a prospect: 

Walker's pro day numbers forced some scouts to go back to the film on him. What scouts likely saw was a player with nickel linebacker ability who can play in space and who has the instincts and ability to make it into camp and fight for a spot at the back end of the roster or on the practice squad.

 

Somers Price is a contributor for Eagledelphia.com and can be followed on Twitter @somersprice

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