(Editor’s Note: With training camp just around the corner, let’s continue to meet the new faces on the Cowboys roster. Today we continue the series with defensive tackle Ricky Walker.)
How He Got Here: A two-time All-ACC performer at Virginia Tech, Walker was one of the top pass-rushers for the Hokies during his four seasons. An undrafted rookie, Walker had a draftable grade by the Cowboys, but was a priority free agent when the seventh round was complete. While they drafted Trysten Hill in the second round and grabbed Kansas DT Daniel Wise, Walker did enough on tape to get their attention.
Bet You Didn’t Know: After his senior season, Walker was a finalist for the Dudley Award, given to the top collegiate player in the entire state of Virginia.
Quotable: “If you have any questions, just turn on the game film.” – Ricky Walker has used that mantra coming out of college at VT, knowing there would be question marks concerning his ability to get drafted.
Bryan Broaddus’ Take: I really liked his college tape at Virginia Tech. What’s interesting is his body type in person is better than it was on those views. He flashed during the OTAs/minicamps. There is some quickness to his game in the way that he attacks gaps. He plays like he’s a small man and I mean that as a compliment. I didn’t always see this in those games. Much better effort chasing the ball in those camps. Plays with awareness. Doesn’t lose the ball. Had trouble in college get off blocks, so when they get into pads we need to keep an eye on that. Hopefully he’s improved his strength/power since then. His best plays are made when he plays on the move. That’s his strength. Long shot to make the squad but plays a position where they’re looking for bodies for a rotation.
Role/Roster Chances: Walker has the kind of motor that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli always admires. He’ll have to keep it running from the start of camp until the end, with standout plays in the preseason games as well. It won’t be easy to make the team or even the practice squad, but if he can find a way to be in the offensive backfield enough, he’ll have a shot.