Falcons Waive LB Mykal Walker

The Falcons have made a slightly surprising roster move as we start to inch closer to initial 53-man rosters for the 2023 NFL season. In order to make space on the roster for recent linebacker addition Frank Ginda, Atlanta waived former sixth-round pick Mykal Walker, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Walker was drafted to the Falcons in 2020 out of Fresno State. He played a decently consistent role in Atlanta over his first two NFL seasons, starting eight of 33 games as a rotational defender. In limited action, Walker graded out fairly well, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), ranking as the league’s eighth-best linebacker as a rookie.

When finally given more opportunities as a starter in 2022, he produced given the extra time but saw the quality of his play suffer. In 12 starts last season, Walker passed the century-mark for total tackles and added two interceptions and six passes defensed in the process. The production was there, but he only graded out at 55th in the league at the position, according to PFF. The site didn’t dock him in any one area, simply grading him as average against the run, in coverage, and rushing the passer.

Coming into 2023, the Falcons didn’t seem to be planning to continue starting Walker moving forward. He had routinely been working behind Kaden Elliss, added in free agency this spring, and second-year linebacker Troy Andersen. The team experimented with maybe moving him back outside, a role he saw a bit as a rookie, but even then, he found himself working on the second-team defense. He felt comfortable moving around the three linebacker spots as a rover, but it seems that at every position, the Falcons preferred other options.

With the 2023 USFL Defensive Player of the Year in Ginda now in the locker room, Walker apparently fell too low on the depth chart. His time in Atlanta has come to an end, but it wouldn’t be surprising to find him on a new roster before the regular season gets going.

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