When reports surfaced earlier this week that defensive tackle Charles Walker would leave Oklahoma immediately in order to prepare for the 2017 draft, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report predicted that the move wouldn’t be well-received by NFL front offices, which already had reason to doubt Walker’s work ethic. In the days since, Miller has spoken with scouts and coaches around the league, and opinions have certainly not changed.
“We’ll put up with a lot of s–t, but not quitters,” one NFL man told Miller. “Talk to anyone [at OU] and they’ll tell you he’s not even hurt,” said another. “He doesn’t want to get hit anymore.” While Miller cautioned that some NFL staffers might have different views, every observer he talked to shared the same outlook. However, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com recently reported that other scouts/coaches might believe that Walker chose the correct path, especially given that he recently suffered the third concussion of his collegiate career.
Let’s take a look at the other highlights from Miller’s notebook, which — as always — is well worth a full read:
- A “longtime NFL GM” reached out to Miller to discuss the 2017 quarterback class, and the former executive offered some interesting observations on the top signal-callers. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson‘s size worries the ex-GM, who compared him to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The exec also put forth concerns about UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, but was more complementary of Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, predicting he “could be the one we all fall in love with between now and April.” Meanwhile, the former GM called Miami’s Brad Kaaya — whom the Bears are already researching — the “smartest of the crop.”
- Miller posed several questions to an AFC scout, whose most insightful responses were on the topic of domestic violence. Some scouts — such as the one in question — have a hardline stance toward DV, but the staffer admitted that the risk versus reward debate takes place higher up the organizational hierarchy. A team’s owner, general manager, or head coach may be more willing to accept a player with domestic violence background if he is extremely talented, meaning such a decision is more likely to be made on a first-round prospect.
- Alabama’s defense figures to boast several first-round draft picks, but at least one NFL scout isn’t a fan of cornerback Marlon Humphrey, per Miller. “I think he’s overrated,” said the evaluator. “You guys don’t see how stiff he is or that he can’t turn and run.”