The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the worst defense in the NFL last season. If they’re going to change that, they need more talent. Walker is a good start.
D’Andre Walker’s Career
D’Andre Walker is a former four-star composite recruit, and played four seasons at Georgia. He accumulated 112 total tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks. His breakout season was last year as a Senior, where he racked up 7.5 sacks.
At 6’2 and 250 lbs, Walker is a bit undersized, but he has very good length and strength. He uses strong hands to keep offensive linemen under control and set the edge against the run. Walker also plays with good pad level and leverage, and uses this to anchor against the run. He also displays good lateral mobility up and down the line of scrimmage.
He was also occasionally asked to drop into coverage at Georgia and did pretty well. He covered shallow zones, the flat, and was even asked to cover man-to-man, which he did adequately. He can play in a three-point stance or standing up as an outside linebacker.
Walker doesn’t have great burst or flexibility, and doesn’t have a well-developed pass rush game with counters. For all that he does well in the run game, Walker seems to lack impact traits and skills in the pass rush game. He is more of a linear athlete and isn’t great in space.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
The Bucs badly need to fix their defense, which has dragged the team down for far too long. A player like Walker might be more one-dimensional at this point, but he still presents plenty of value. Right away Walker will be an early and/or standard downs edge defender, and will play the run well, in a starting role. With some coaching development and scheme help with stunts, twists, and other pass rush games, he can provide help in passing situations. In time Walker could be a solid starting three-down player.
Will It Happen?
Hard to say. More than anything the Bucs need athleticism anywhere they can find it. Most of all that means pass rushers and guys who can cover. That’s not really Walker’s current skill set. But he’s a starting quality player and rookies mean rookie salaries and potential. There is value in replacing an older player who costs more and won’t have Walker’s upside, and the Bucs are feeling the cap squeeze.