Charles Walker

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/23/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Eagles have waived quarterback Jerod Evans and defensive tackle Charles Walker off injured reserve with injury settlements, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Both players were waived/injured in the past two weeks, but cleared waivers without being claimed by another club. Instead of spending the year on Philadelphia’s IR list, Evans and Walker will now earn a payment equal to what they would have earned while injured. Evans and Walker can re-sign with the Eagles, but they’ll have to wait three weeks plus the time value of the settlement.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/18/17

Thursday’s minor NFL transactions:

  • A week after signing Charles Walker, the Eagles have waived/injured the former Oklahoma defensive tackle, citing a knee ailment. Walker declared for the draft in November, thus ending his career with the Sooners before their season concluded. As a result, he drew widespread criticism – including from head coach Bob Stoops – but Walker explained in a pre-draft letter to teams that a battle with depression was at the root of his decision. Walker also noted that he’s now doing better, but he still ended up going undrafted.
  • The Patriots have waived guard Chris Barker and signed a pair of players – offensive lineman James Ferentz and undrafted free agent tight end Sam Cotton – Mike Reiss of ESPN.com was among those to report (on Twitter). Barker appeared in six games with the Pats from 2013-15. Ferentz, the son of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz (a friend and former colleague of Bill Belichick‘s), played his college ball with the Hawkeyes and then went undrafted in 2014. He appeared in 20 games, including seven last season, with the Broncos from 2015-16. Cotton, meanwhile, attended Nebraska and posted modest numbers there over the previous four years, catching 17 passes and three touchdowns.
  • The Panthers have claimed defensive tackle Toby Johnson off waivers from the Vikings, tweets Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com. Carolina has waived linebacker Kyle Kragen in a corresponding move, reports David Newton of ESPN.com. Johnson, meanwhile, hit the waiver wire on Wednesday, when Minnesota parted with him after he played in two of the team’s games last year.

Eagles Sign 10 UDFAs

The Eagles have announced the signings of 10 undrafted free agents, including a pair of previously reported players in former Wisconsin running back Corey Clement and ex-Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker. Here are the other eight:

Extra Points: Eagles, Walker, Mangold, Vikes

Newly minted Eagles defensive tackle Charles Walker drew criticism for leaving Oklahoma’s football team last year before its season ended (head coach Bob Stoops essentially called him a quitter), but it turns out he had a good reason. Walker’s early exit came because of a battle with depression, which he explained in a letter to all 32 NFL teams prior to the draft, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). Walker also notified clubs that taking medication has helped curb his depression. Despite that positive development and Walker’s high upside, nobody took a flier on him during the seven-round draft.

More from around the game:

  • Free agent center Nick Mangold, unemployed since the Jets released him in February, told Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday that he’s “trying to get ready” for 2017, but it doesn’t appear retirement is out of the question for the 33-year-old. When asked if he has ruled out walking away from football, Mangold said, “We’re still trying to see what the options are.” Although he has an outstanding track record, there has been scant interest in the seven-time Pro Bowler this offseason. It’s possible that’ll change shortly, however, as New Orleans may be on the lookout for help in the middle of its offensive line.
  • After a four-year stint as Nebraska’s quarterback, the undrafted Tommy Armstrong is going to have to change positions if he wants to make the Vikings. Armstrong, who’s currently unsigned, entered the Vikings’ rookie minicamp trying out at running back. Minnesota then shifted him to safety, and he intrigued the club enough to earn an invitation to organized team activities, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Said Armstrong, whose college career included 90 touchdowns (67 passing, 23 rushing): “I met with (defensive backs coach Jerry) Gray after practice Sunday, and he said, ‘We’re going to fly you back up here (next) Sunday and we’ll give you a playbook. He said he’d call me in a few days. They also like the way I’ve been playing special teams.’’
  • Upward of 12 players in the Spring League have been invited to NFL minicamps. CEO Brian Woods says he’s happy with the way things have played out since the league’s inaugural season wrapped up. “We were pleased with the NFL turnout for sure,” Woods said (via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com). “It was overwhelming and we were happy to have it. I was talking as it wrapped up with some of our coaches, and we feel like this league is in position to help quarterbacks as much as anything, and we all know that’s an ongoing priority for the NFL.” Generally, though, NFL execs have told Seifert that they wished the league was younger as a whole. Running back Ben Tate, 28, apparently turned in the best performance of any of the league’s players.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles To Sign DT Charles Walker

Charles Walker, an undrafted defensive tackle from Oklahoma, is set to sign with the Eagles, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

Charles Walker (Vertical)

While most undrafted free agents are relatively anonymous, Walker stands as a fairly notable player who didn’t hear his name called by any NFL team during the final weekend of April. Walker declared for the draft in November, thus concluding his career with the Sooners before their season ended. The decision drew ire from head coach Bob Stoops, who said, “Quitting on your teammates is hard to take as a coach.”

Even before Walker made the controversial choice to depart Oklahoma, there were questions from scouts regarding the 304-pounder’s work ethic, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller noted in November (Twitter link). At the time, though, Miller ranked Walker as the draft’s 35th-best prospect, so it’s fair to say the Eagles could be landing a high-reward player for a pittance. Walker will vie for a roster spot as a reserve behind Philadelphia’s enviable starting D-tackle duo of Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan, and backup Beau Allen‘s chest injury won’t hurt the rookie’s cause as he attempts to make the team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Redskins, Dolphins, Jets, Giants

The Redskins have lost $4.5MM in cap space after paying back a “salary cap loan” from the 2011 campaign, as Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com explains. Once the lockout concluded in 2011, the league-wide salary cap was set at $120MM per team, a $3MM decrease from the previous capped year. Because of the discrepancy, the NFL allowed clubs to borrow cap space: up to $3MM in 2011, and up to $1.5MM in 2012. Both amounts had to be repaid by 2017, so the bill has now come due for Washington.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Dolphins are continuing their search for front seven players by researching draft prospects, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker has been invited for a meeting with the Fins, per Jackson, while the club is also showing interest in Temple linebacker Haason Reddick and Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon. Meanwhile, Miami worked out cornerback John Ojo — who spent 2016 with the Edmonton Eskimoes of the Canadian Footbball League — on Monday, but he’s expected to sign with another team, according to Jackson.
  • Ohio State safety Malik Hooker will visit with the Jets on Thursday, as Hooker tells SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Hooker, considered one of the draft’s top two safeties along with Jamal Adams (LSU), will likely be selected within the top 10 picks later this month. In New York, a Hooker addition could possibly lead to the release of veteran defender Marcus Gilchrist.
  • After indicating he was stepping away from the NFL on Monday, Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa tweeted Tuesday that he’s “grateful to be part of Big Blue,” but New York sources (and a few Giants teammates) aren’t sure what is going on with the 25-year-old defender, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. While some observers believe Odighizuwa is dealing with “personal” problems, the entire nature of his tweets is still unclear.
  • The Redskins are working out offensive tackle John Kling, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. King signed with Chicago last summer after being undrafted out of Buffalo, but was waived during final cutdowns and never latched on with another team.

Miller’s Latest: Walker, Watson, Trubisky, Kizer

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.”

Mort & Schefter On Norv Turner, C-Mike, Rams

After stepping down as Vikings offensive coordinator, Norv Turner is not looking for work at this moment. However, he is still interested in coaching, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com. Once his Vikings contract runs out this winter, Turner would like the opportunity to help mold an up-and-coming quarterback.

I just enjoy it too much,” Turner said. “I really enjoy teaching the players.

Turner says he’ll only return to the sidelines for the right opportunity or, as Schefter and Mortensen put it, “the right team in the right city with the right quarterback.” Given the Vikings’ offensive struggles under Turner, he is probably a stronger candidate as a quarterbacks coach than an offensive coordinator. Turner has had several stops as an OC in the NFL, but serving as strictly a QB coach at the professional level would be a first for him. The only time he ever held that title was with USC from 1981-1983.

Here’s more from Mortensen and Schefter:

  • Christine Michael‘s release was about his regression as a runner and also a statement about the Seahawks‘ confidence in rookie C.J. Prosise, Mortensen writes. At Notre Dame, there were doubts about Prosise’s ability to grind out tough yards because of his soft-spoken personality. However, the Seahawks saw a warrior underneath his reserved demeanor and had enough faith to use a third-round pick on him. Going forward, Mortensen writes that Prosise is expected to be the main ball carrier with Thomas Rawls eased back into action.
  • Case Keenum will move into a backup role behind No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff, but it’s actually possible that he’s bumped all the way down to No. 3 and made inactive on gamedays if the Rams fall out of the playoff hunt. Keenum is headed for free agency at the end of the year and L.A. will likely want to gauge what they have in Sean Mannion, a 2015 third-round choice.
  • There has been a lot of talk about Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker and his controversial decision to leave the team in advance of the 2017 NFL Draft. The popular view is that NFL teams will not look favorably upon Walker’s decision to abandon the Sooners, causing him to slide in the draft. However, Mortensen isn’t certain that clubs will concur with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops‘ framing of the situation. Walker suffered the third reported concussion of his career in early October and cutting his season short may benefit him on multiple levels. From a talent perspective, Walker is viewed as a first- or second-round pick for the spring.

Charles Walker Leaving OU For NFL Draft Prep

2017 draft prospect Charles Walker is leaving the University of Oklahoma in order to prepare for next year’s NFL draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Walker informed Sooners head coach Bob Stoops of his decision today, per Rapoport.Charles Walker (Vertical)

[RELATED: Bears Scouting QB Prospect Brad Kaaya]

The reaction to Walker’s decision has been swift and unkind, both from within the team and from outsiders. “Quitting on your teammates is hard to take as a coach,” said Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops in perhaps the sternest rebuke of Walker’s move to leave school (Twitter link via Ryan Abers of the Oklahoman). Meanwhile, Walker’s work ethic had already been questioned by scouts, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), who guesses that Walker’s decision won’t be well-received.

Walker drew praise for his 2015 campaign, during which he posted six sacks and 36 tackles in 11 games. This season, however, he’s been limited by a concussion, and has played in only four contests. Draftniks differ on his valuation, as well, as Miller ranks Walker as the No. 35 overall player, while CBSSports.com places Walker just 91st overall as the ninth-best defensive tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.