2022 NFL Draft: Kenneth Walker III Scouting Report

Spread the love

Kenneth Walker III NFL Draft Overview

Position: Running Back
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 210 lbs
School: Michigan State

NFL Combine Data:
40 Yard Dash: 4.38
Vertical Jump: 34
Broad Jump: 122

More 2022 NFL Draft Profiles

Kenneth Walker III 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Walker was Michigan’s most featured running back in 2021. He had had multiple FCS offers but opted to commit to Wake Forrest — the only Power 5 school that offered him. At Wake, Walker was rarely featured. His primary role was mainly as a backup but Walker was still able to find the end zone in each of his six final games at Wake Forrest. The running back then opted to enter the transfer portal following the 2020 season. Walker arrived at East Lansing and took complete control of the Michigan State backfield. In 12 games for the Spartans, the Running back racked up 1,636 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, and a 6.2 yards per carry average. This included eight 100-yard games and three games with three or more touchdowns. Walker finished the 2021 season earning the Walter Camp Award National Player of the Year Award, Doak Walker Award, and was named a unanimous first-team All-American.

Walker may not have made much noise prior to 2021, but his performance during his junior year at Michigan State showed he has the potential to be a feature back in a very good NFL backfield. He has a human joystick feel and is a threat to turn a three-yard loss into a 20-yard gain on every down. His best asset is his change of direction. Walker has an incredibly powerful lower half that he pares with great balance, making him very hard to take down in one-on-one situations. There are many instances of Walker bouncing off of tacklers or spinning onto his feet after he appears to be wrapped up. He also combines a fair amount of patience with a deadly cut back to juke and dodge his way into the second level. Where Walker runs into some trouble is on passing downs. He shows incredible effort on almost every rushing down but looks like he lacks interest and understanding of how to pass block with proper pad level. 

Strengths

  • Great center of gravity allows him to bounce off tacklers at the line of scrimmage and in space
  • Impeccable vision allows him to identify space before making his first cuts
  • Alive and agile feet make his jump cuts sudden and precise
  • Able to attack seems and burst out the other side without losing much momentum
  • Patient but not overly hesitant to attack the space in front of him
  • Only two fumbles over his three-year collegiate career

Weaknesses

  • Very undeveloped as a pass protector and occasionally looks disinterested in blocking
  • Speedy but does not appear to have a second gear when breaking away from defenders
  • One season wonder, who had never started a game prior to 2021
  • Route concepts were simple out of the backfield

NFL Comparison: DeAngelo Williams

Team with need at the position: Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projection: Second round

Bottom Line on Kenneth Walker

Walker is going to be a player a lot of running back-needy teams covet on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. He has incredible footwork and his video game juke moves make him a missed tackle waiting to happen. There are going to be plenty of opportunities early in Walker’s NFL career where he is able to get around the edge or cut through the offensive line for large chunk plays. His balance and one-cut ability are perhaps the best in the class. However, his lack of understanding of a running back’s role in the passing game is going to limit his playing time as a rookie. Expect Walker to be selected towards the end of the second or early in the third round and to contribute as an early-down back in 2022 with three-down potential.

Games watched: Northwestern (2021), Miami FL (2021), Nebraska (2021), Michigan (2021)

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images