The Philadelphia Eagles have signed former Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker, according to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates. Walker became a free agent after going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Walker didn’t play a full three years at Oklahoma because he left the season during the 2016 season in order to prepare for the NFL Draft. Also factoring in to the decision was that Walker suffered three concussions while playing for the Sooners. These factors likely scared off NFL teams from drafting him.
Walker measures in at 6-2, 310 pounds. In 21 games played, he logged 53 tackles (13 for loss), 6.5 sacks, five pass deflections, and one forced fumble.
The Eagles are set at starting defensive tackle with Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan but more depth at the position is needed. Jernigan and Beau Allen, who might not be ready by Week 1, are both free agents after the 2017 season. Philadelphia also drafted Elijah Qualls in the sixth round of this year’s draft. Destiny Vaeao will also have a shot to make the team’s roster after signing with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent last year.
Walker ranked 13th out of this year’s top 15 defensive tackles as listed by BGN’s Ben Natan. Many projected him to be a sixth or seventh round pick. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Walker could have been a first round pick if he didn’t leave Oklahoma early. Walker made BGN’s list of most underrated players in this year’s draft.
Charles Walker had a slightly tumultuous career with the Sooners, walking away from the team early due to injuries and hoping to preserve himself for the NFL draft. While some may question his dedication to the game, others will call that career sense. At 310 pounds, Walker not only has good size but is also explosive as well. He was up and down as a player, but his flashes were brilliant and tantalizing. It will be up to a team to take a chance on him despite consistency and injury history, but the payoff could be large.
Here’s more info from an NFL.com scouting report. Sounds like a pretty good fit for Jim Schwartz’s aggressive scheme. Walker seems like a nice low-risk gamble for the Eagles.
Sources Tell Us: "I'm not really a fan but I'm sure our coaches will be. He has talent but he's just so inconsistent. He has quickness and strength but then will just disappear during the game. He has enough flashes on tape that I'm sure our coach will want to work with that." - NFC regional scoutNFL Comparison Clinton McDonald
Bottom Line: Disruptive defensive tackle with the initial quickness and power to become a factor for a one-gapping, upfield front if he can ever put it all together. Despite his flashes, Walker's career starts can be counted on one hand and 2016 was a complete loss of a season. NFL personnel men are likely to get harsh reviews from the Sooners coaching staff and teams will need to do their work on Walker's concussion situation, but his athleticism and potential give him a chance to become an NFL starter.
Charles Walker spider graph:
Hat tip to @IgglesCoverage on digging up the following tweets:
DT Charles Walker.. Immediately notices his hands usage/eye level.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 29, 2017
Can bench press space for himself, but also show awareness vs cuts.. pic.twitter.com/uvhfsJx7Wr
For more on reported Eagles UDFA signings, click here.