Name: Erik Walden
Number: 53 Height/Weight: 6-2, 242
College: Middle Tennessee State
NFL Exp: Rookie
How Acquired: D6-'08
Hometown: Dublin, Ga.
Fitting In: Walden will try to be the latest Cowboys player to make the switch from defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker, following in the footsteps of DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis and Anthony Spencer. He will compete with several undrafted free agents for a backup role, but as a sixth-round draft choice, he holds the early edge on the competition.
So Far: Walden admittedly struggled at the start of training camp making the transition from end to linebacker, but has come on strong of late. His pass rush in one-on-ones has looked much better, getting the best of offensive tackle Doug Free earlier in the week.
Best Asset: Speed. Walden has the ability to get the edge on tackles using a speed rush, and at 6-2, he can dip his shoulder so low to the ground his speed move is an effective pass-rush weapon.
You Should Know: Walden has a spitting habit and he doesn't understand why he does it. Even when he doesn't have a cold, Walden will just spit the day away. "I think I get that from my dad," Walden said, "he used to always just spit all the time."
A Mouthful: "Walden showed up defensively," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said of the rookie's play in the first preseason game. "I thought at outside linebacker he showed some things even better than he did in practice. So that was a good sign."