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Mykal Walker Scouting Report


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Football IQ - He's been charged with a number of different roles (end man on LOS and off-ball alike), which is promising for his potential development and ability to serve as a chameleon to different schemes and fronts. Still fairly green to this level of competition and has plenty of room for growth and consistency. 

Tackling - He's got an effective tackle radius and compliments his reach with good lateral mobility and a pretty springy first step. When he's walked up into gaps, he'll push through contact effectively to persist to the football. He's not a powerful finisher, however — will get to stalemates more consistently. 

Block Shedding - He's still working through block deconstruction — there are times where the hands are late to flash or not at all and he has to rely on his range and mobility to get him off of bodies. That said, he's got some pretty nifty pop when he does flash his hands and possesses requisite length to develop nicely here. 

Competitive Toughness - He's got a hot motor and he'll play through backside trash to find the ball. His functional strength is good for an off-ball LB but put him on the LOS and you'll probably want a little more leverage and anchor out of him to ensure he's holding ground effectively. 

Lateral Mobility - He's got a fair amount of side to side ability. Wouldn't consider him a MIKE by any means but his short area agility to slant and crash gaps is good and he's shown ability to unlock his hips and get width against outside runs and keep contain when faced with making reads at the mesh point. 

Coverage Skills - He's a much more effective defender in the box, wouldn't consider him for anything other than shallow zones in coverage role. He can stay on the field on 3rd downs as a pressure player who can be moved around the set but wouldn't consider him a viable outside rush player at this point. 

Gap Shooting Ability - First step quickness is nice! A lot of his splash production has come from walking into interior gaps and attacking down blocks and getting upfield quickly. He doesn't see it quite as quickly from an off ball role just yet — but offers promise that he can get there. 

Feet/COD - There are some wasted steps and movements that hinder his movement economy and can take him into disadvantageous leverage of the play. His actual COD skills are effective to dart across the face of blockers, but he'll need to be more deliberate with gearing down and coming to balance. 

Flexibility - He's pretty fluid in terms of his base, has the ability to get steep angles for high speed redirections in intermittent flashes. He'll need to spend some time on his pad level, he can lose some of his coil and leverage by being too high at the first point of contact. 

First Step Explosiveness - He's quick! Like how he's able to spring into hip to hip positioning quickly on predesignated pressure reps and if he's not contacted, he'll have success working to the mesh point and accelerating through the play. Not sure he's got the juice to consistently take the edge, however. 

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Best Trait - Versatility 

Worst Trait - Coverage Skills 

Best Film - USC (2019)

Worst Film - Utah State (2019)

Red Flags - None

Player Summary - Mykal Walker is a diverse linebacker who has experience playing both end man on the LOS and also playing inside LB. His NFL projection is likely that of a hybrid defender that can be developed into a mismatch defender, primarily in the box. Walker has just two years of ball at the FBS level under his belt but showed promise and potential as a stand-up linebacker throughout his two seasons at Fresno State. He's a developmental prospect, but he's an intriguing potential move piece. 

 

PROS: Size and athletic profile lend favorably to a versatile role with duties in coverage, blitzing and in run defense. Has plenty of reps as a traditional edge rushers which should lead to effective moments blitzing. Ability to convert speed to power pops on tape. That, combined with his quickness, gives him a chance to succeed as a gap-shooter. Does well to use his length to keep separation from blocks and filter through traffic. Proven special teams contributor and highly regarded team captain. Racked up the splash plays across three seasons as a starter: 38 TFL, 11 sacks, 3 FF, 17 PBU, 4 INT. 

CONS: Has to develop better feel in zone drops to trust his landmarks, feel routes and cue the backfield - combining all three is a struggle right now. Wish he had more reps as a true off-ball linebacker where he will play in the NFL. Has to play with better leverage and get stronger - contact balance taking on blocks can disappoint. Lacks fluidity and there is some segmentation when changing directions and flipping his hips. 

BEST TRAIT - Versatility 

WORST TRAIT - Projection

RED FLAGS - None

Fresno State linebacker Mykal Walker enters the NFL after starting 40 games in college, primarily as a stand up EDGE. With that said, he needs to transition to a true off-ball role because he has nowhere near the size and strength to survive on the line of scrimmage at the next level. Walker does present an intriguing physical profile and he was a productive defensive playmaker in college in addition to making significant contributions on special teams. At the next level, Walker is likely a depth/sub package player that has a sustained career because of what he can do in four phases of special teams work.

 

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https://draftwire.usatoday.com/2020/02/15/2020-nfl-draft-prospects-mykal-walker-fresno-state-interview/

If your favorite NFL team is looking for a sleeper pick at linebacker in the 2020 NFL draft, Fresno State’s Mykal Walker just might be their man.

A decorated leader for the Bulldogs, Walker recently spoke exclusively with Draft Wire about the incredible turnaround at Fresno State, what he loves most about playing linebacker, and why an NFL team should take a chance on him in this year’s draft.

JM: You were an All-Mountain West First-Team selection, and the Defensive MVP of the 2018 Mountain West Championship game. How do you look back on your time at Fresno State?

MW: It’s been a crazy journey. I wasn’t heavily recruited and I worked myself into an opportunity to transfer to Fresno State. I was blessed to be surrounded by such a fantastic coaching staff and teammates. We’ve done a great job turning things around as of late. We went 1-11 in 2016. I arrived in 2017. My red-shirt year, we won a bowl game and went to the championship game. My first year actually playing, we won the championship game and won a bowl game as well. You always wanna be a part of a team like that. It’s been amazing, man.

JM: What’s your favorite part about playing the linebacker position?

MW: You have to be a know-it-all. I enjoy the responsibilities that come with it. It’s my job to know where everyone on the defense is supposed to be at any given moment. I have to understand all of the schemes. I take pride in watching so much film so that when it comes to the game, I’m well prepared for anything and everything. Being a linebacker means you’re the key of the defense. You’re the glue that holds everything together. I love having that weight on my shoulders. I love being in that position.

JM: What are you most excited about over the next couple of months?

MW: I’m just taking things day by day right now. I’m just trying to enjoy the process. It only happens once. I’m out here training in Miami. I’m just a kid from California that now finds himself in Miami. To come out here and train, I’m just playing football. I’m trying to make football my job and I’m enjoying every single minute of all this. I’ve been meeting some incredible people. I’m training alongside prospects that come from all over the place. It’s been an incredibly humbling experience. I’m just blessed to be in this position. I’m taking things day by day and I won’t take anything for granted.

JM: Playing in the Mountain West afforded you the opportunity to play against some really strong competition. Who are some of the best players you’ve been tasked with covering?

MW: I have to give it up to Alexander Mattison, first and foremost. He played at Boise State. He’s such a tough match-up. He brings it all game long. Even after we won the championship game, I remember praising him in the post-game interview. He’s probably the best player I’ve ever played against. I hope to play against him again next year if everything goes right for me.

JM: He was great when he was able to get on the field for the Minnesota Vikings this year. Is there another NFL superstar you’d love to play against?

MW: I’m actually gonna switch it up and mention someone who’s on his way. Eno Benjamin from Arizona State is someone I’d love to compete against. He has “it,” man. That’s a great player right there. I’m excited for this entire draft class. Anybody I’ve ever played against, my teammates, guys I’m training alongside, I’m just excited for them. I just want the best for everybody. This is such a great experience for us all. We’re all excited to see how things shake out.

I’ve played against some of the best of the best. Even a guy like Brett Rypien, another Boise State guy. He has the ability to control an entire game from the quarterback position. I got to see him twice while I was ineligible. I think about all the big dogs in the Mountain West. San Diego State has a bunch of guys. Their running back Juwan Washington is a great player. Wyoming had a great running back in 2018. The Mountain West has had some great players throughout my time here.

JM: What do you enjoy more: Coming downhill in the run game, or dropping back into coverage?

MW: I love the run game. That’s one thing I’ve always loved and had a knack for. To me, being able to come up and stop the run just defines everything that’s great about football. It’s fast and physical. You have to attack these high paced offenses nowadays. The run game is my bread and butter.

JM: Why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on Mykal Walker?

MW: I’m a versatile guy that can play in any scheme. I’ve played both inside and outside. I’m a special teams contributor as well. I’m a guy that’s gonna grind every day. I can play inside and I can rush off the edge. I’m just looking forward to being an asset at the next level. I’m a player that can do it all. Whichever team decides to give me an opportunity, I’m gonna run with it. I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m gonna work my butt off and earn the respect of my teammates.

Edited by MayorWest13
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