Tracy Walker has found a new rejuvenation in Lions defense

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Coming out of Louisana-Lafayette, Tracy Walker had a lot to prove by being a small-school prospect drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft. He needed refinement to get up to NFL speed, but he had strong veteran presences in Glover Quin and Quandre Diggs, and it did wonders for him. Walker took the world by storm with his ballhawk instincts proving his worth above his draft slot.

Walking in the 2019 season, the Lions released Quin — believing Walker was ready to take the next step forward as a cornerstone safety. Instead, Walker had an average season, but not the season many were hoping for after we got a glimpse of it in 2018. As a result, the coaching staff moved Walker all over the secondary, playing in the box, slot, and free safety. Unfortunately, he did not find his footing in one position, and it ultimately showed.

With the potential Walker has shown to this point, many still had hoped he would turn it all around in the 2020 season, but his growth stunted once again. The Lions opted to go with ex-Patriot Duron Harmon as the free safety over Walker, even though it was his more natural position and played more to his strengths. As a result, Walker played more in the box, and his play was adversely affected. It made everyone wonder what the Lions were thinking, opting for an aging veteran instead of developing their young talent. Unfortunately, that was the nature of the previous regime, which is one reason for their dismissal.

Clearly, he did not play his best football, but many believe that had to do more with the coaching than the player himself. Thankfully the current coaching staff is all about putting their players in the best position possible and player development, and Walker looks to redeem himself after a catastrophic season.

“Honestly I’m just excited for my opportunity to go out there and showcase what I can do,” Walker said after a recent practice. “As far as last year, I put last year behind me. I’m not worried about last year. Like I said, my play will speak for itself. Last year I was put in some hella tough situations and I had to try to adapt. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to adapt to every situation. But this year? Sh*t, I’m ready to go ball out, man.”

The Lions need Walker to return to his former self as the safety corps is very thin, leading to most wondering why the team didn’t address the position more heavily this offseason. Additionally, will Harris hasn’t developed as well as most were hoping for. Still, this season may be different with the needed development provided this season to a point Walker believes between him and Harris they could be the best safety duo in the league.

The volume coming out of camp has always been positive from the players, and Walker has not been any different. From the praises to the new coaching staff with their player development to the joking with Dan Campbell receiving a “fine” for not coming up with an interception for him. Also, coming into a contract year, Walker will hope to return to his former self, as do the Lions. If he can, there is no reason why the Lions won’t bring him back as their cornerstone-free safety.

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