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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Georgia LB Quay Walker

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Georgia LB Quay Walker

6-foot-4
241 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.15 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report

Long, athletic "Mike" linebacker whose third-down ability give him a chance to be a solid to very good starter in time

The skinny

A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 38 nationally) in the Class of 2018, Walker chose the Bulldogs over Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and other schools. He saw action in all 14 games in 2018, making six tackles and being named co-Special Teams Newcomer of the Year. In 2019, Walker played in 13 of 14 games, making 23 tackles (3.5 for losses) and 2.5 sacks. He started two of his 10 games in 2020, collecting 43 tackles (two for losses) and one sack. Walker became a full-time starter in 2021, with 67 tackles (5.5 for losses), 1.5 sacks, three passes defended and one fumble recovery. He had to miss the Senior Bowl with injury.

Linebacker Quay Walker (7) celebrates after Georgia beat Alabama to win the national championship. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Linebacker Quay Walker (7) celebrates after Georgia beat Alabama to win the national championship. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Upside

  • Nice length — legit 6-foot-4 with 32 5/8-inch arms

  • Very good athletic profile — most excellent testing numbers at NFL combine

  • Light on his feet and ready to pounce

  • Lateral quickness is a plus — nice twitch to get into the action fast

  • Surprising range to work sideline to sideline

  • "Slow to flow, fast to go" while shuffling down the line

  • Patrols underneath zones well — good peripheral vision and reaction skills

  • Can man up tight ends in coverage — shut down Bama's Cameron Latu, SC's Jaheim Bell

  • Very reliable tackler — wraps up and seldom whiffs, even in space

  • Hitting force is impressive — some knockback power on tape

  • Takes on blocks willingly and has shown ability to shed

  • Read his keys better in 2021 and has shown more comfort with each year

  • High-school defensive end who offers third-down rush ability

  • Blew up a few running backs on blitzes

  • Extensive special-teams experience — more than 500 career snaps

  • Durable and tough — rarely missed time on the field

  • Best football might be in front of him

  • Quiet, businesslike personality

Downside

  • Smaller hands (9 1/4 inches) make it tougher to take on NFL blocks

  • Disappointing vertical jump number (32 inches) was more befitting of offensive lineman

  • Upper body could use a bit more power

  • Lean playmaking resumé — 11 TFLs, five sacks, zero INTs, one FR in 52 games (1,181 snaps)

  • Can be a tick slow locating ball with misdirection

  • Instincts remain somewhat undeveloped — relatively new to LB

  • Still overruns some plays (although he was improved in this area)

  • Takes some false steps that can be cleaned up

  • Still learning how to maximize his hand usage

  • Surrounded by elite talent — more difficult to evaluate

  • Didn't start until final season — more than half his college snaps came in 2021

  • Had to miss Senior Bowl with rib injury

Best-suited destination

Walker might not be pegged for immediate starting duty, but he has starter potential — and could even become more of an instinctive playmaker at the next level in time. He can play inside or as a "Sam" linebacker, offering nice third-down value as a rusher or in coverage. Walker also projects to be a quality special teamer from the jump. We could see him as a fit for teams such as the Patriots, Cowboys, Texans, Titans, Lions, Jaguars, Steelers and otheers.

Did you know

Quay's full name is Jaquavian Jy'Quese Walker.

Player comp

Jamin Davis

Expected draft range

Late first round to early second