Quay Walker

Packers Sign Round 1 LB Quay Walker

Hours after agreeing to terms with the second of their two first-round picks, defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, the Packers locked down their other first-rounder.

Wyatt’s ex-Georgia teammate, linebacker¬†Quay Walker, is now under contract, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Although the modern-era rookie signing process features far fewer complications than the negotiations before the 2011 CBA, with a slot system now in place, the Packers moved past any complications very early in this process. Walker and Wyatt’s signings coincide with the beginning of the Packers’ rookie minicamp.

Green Bay deviated considerably from a path of not devoting significant resources to its off-ball linebacker spots, selecting Walker 22nd overall a few weeks after giving 2021 free agency flier De’Vondre Campbell a big-ticket deal. Walker and Campbell represent the Packers’ biggest commitment to these two positions in over a decade.

Walker worked as a Bulldogs regular over the past three years, with his most significant contributions coming for the national champions’ dominant 2021 defense — one that saw five of its cogs drafted in the first round. Walker was the third of those Georgia defenders taken. The 6-foot-3 linebacker registered a career-best 65 tackles (5.5 for loss) as a senior last year. Via the fifth-year option that could later be exercised, Walker can be controlled on this rookie deal through 2026.

Draft Rumors: Jets, Dean, Walker, Hill, Hamilton

Both New York teams are in the enviable position of having two top-ten picks in Thursday’s first-round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jets have made it clear that they are prepared to use their No. 10 overall pick in order to acquire 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who requested a trade this week.

According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, league sources believe the Jets will use the No. 4 overall pick to address their defense, despite recent chatter that they may be targeting NC State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu. Pauline reports that he has heard that “the coaches love Kayvon Thibodeaux, but front office personnel have a lot of concerns.”

Thibodeuax has seen his stock drop since the tail end of the college football season with questionable concerns over his motor and effort. Coaches, though, see his ability and potential and, understandably, want him on their defense.

Here are a few more Draft rumors from Pauline’s article concerning some risers and fallers:

  • Pauline claims there’s a 50/50 chance that Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean goes in the first round. Dean led the National Champion Bulldogs in tackles for loss and was second on the team in both total tackles and sacks. He’s a talented prospect, but teams desire to have the fifth-year option at their disposal for other positions such as cornerback, receiver, or quarterback.
  • Dean’s teammate, fellow Georgia linebacker Quay Walker, has been soaring up the boards lately. Like Dean, it’s unlikely Walker hears his name called on Day 1, but it’s looking more and more likely that he won’t last long in the second round of the Draft.
  • Michigan safety Daxton Hill has been the consensus second-best safety prospect for all of the offseason. While he’s been rising up boards as teams begin to realize his versatility and ability to play as a free safety, in the box safety, or even over a slot receiver, he’s still unlikely to be selected in the first round. Hill is another player expected to be drafted early into Day 2.
  • The top consensus safety prospect on the board, Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton, has been dropping in popularity in the days leading up to the Draft. It won’t be enough for him to lose his title as the top-ranked safety over Hill or even enough to drop him out of the first round, but for a player that is consistently considered a top-ten or even top-five prospect in the Draft, this fall is potentially costing him top money. Pauline reports that league sources see Hamilton going around picks 15 to 20.

Georgia LB Quay Walker Visits Lions

The Lions are looking into possibilities to fill a position of need, bringing in Georgia linebacker Quay Walker yesterday for a visit, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The question of importance, though, is: will he still be there at the end of the first round? 

Detroit holds the No. 2 overall pick, but will have to use it on one of the 2022 NFL Draft’s top talents. They will have their pick of whoever is left out of Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, Evan Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu, among others. They do have a second first-round pick, with the Matthew StaffordJared Goff trade giving them the Super Bowl-winning Rams’ 32nd overall pick.

After seeing Jalen Reeves-Maybin depart in free agency last month, the Lions certainly have a hole to fill at linebacker. They do return contributors in Alex Anzalone and Josh Woods. They also brought back Jarrad Davis after he spent a year with the Jets. Walker would fill an important role in the middle that could help solidify Detroit’s front seven.

Walker is seen by many as the third-best linebacker prospect in the Draft behind Utah’s Devin Lloyd and teammate Nakobe Dean. In the rankings provided by Dane Brugler of The Athletic, Walker slots in as the 31st overall prospect, with Dean at 29th and Lloyd at 9th.

Brugler certainly lines it up to be a close call in determining if Walker will make it to Detroit at 32, but it largely depends on when the first linebackers get taken. If Lloyd finds himself in the top ten picks, a run could ensue with linebacker-hungry teams jumping from their seats to select one of the Bulldogs. If no linebackers are drafted till the middle of the round, the Lions might find themselves lucking into a solid new starter in the middle.

Eight Georgia Bulldogs Declare For Draft

After wrapping of the 2021 football season with a National Championship win over the Crimson Tide, Georgia is ready to send a couple players to the NFL. So far, we’ve seen declarations from running backs Zamir White and James Cook, wide receiver George Pickens, offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, defensive linemen Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt, linebacker Nakobe Dean, and safety Lewis Cine.

White was a 5-star recruit out of North Carolina and the consensus top-ranked running back in the 2018 graduating class. White was forced to red-shirt his true freshman season after tearing his ACL, his second such injury in about 9 months. After healing, he took snaps behind D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien before taking over as the lead back in 2020 rushing for 1,635 yards and 22 touchdowns over the next two seasons. Dane Brugler, of The Athletic, has White ranked as the 7th-best running back in the class and he should expect to hear his name on Day 2 or 3 of the draft.

James Cook, the younger brother of Dalvin Cook, came into Georgia the same year as White but didn’t have to sit out his freshman year. Cook has sat just below White on the depth chart for the three years they were both active, racking up 1,031 rushing yards along with 10 touchdowns in the past two seasons. He is ranked the 5th-best running back on Brugler’s list and should also expect to hear his name in the middle rounds.

Pickens arrived at Georgia as a 5-star recruit after flipping from a commitment to Auburn. He led the team in receiving his freshman year with 727 yards and 8 touchdowns. He improved his yards per game average the next year but missed two games in an already shortened COVID-season. Pickens tore his ACL in March 2021 but returned to contribute to the Bulldogs’ National Championship run catching 2 passes for 61 yards in two playoff games. Brugler has Pickens as the 9th-best receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s expected that some team will take a flyer on the big-bodied receiver on Day 2 or early into Day 3.

Salyer was a 5-star recruit and the consensus top-ranked guard in the 2018 graduating class. Salyer saw his first start late in his sophomore year before securing his spot as the blindside starting tackle for the next two seasons. He missed a couple games with an injury this year, but he surrendered no sacks in eleven starts this year. Brugler has Salyer as the 7th-best interior offensive lineman and we should expect to hear his name on Day 2 or early into Day 3.

Walker came in as a 5-star recruit from west Georgia and dominated as soon as he arrived. Walker became an instant presence on the line with an elite get-off. After starting at defensive tackle for every game this season, Walker led the defensive line in sacks as an interior lineman with 6.0. Despite his size and placement in the Georgia defense, Brugler has Walker as the 4th-best edge rusher in the draft. Whether or not that’s where NFL teams see the junior Bulldog playing, he’s expected to hear his name called late in the first-round or early in the second.

Wyatt initially attended Hutchinson Community College to help meet the academic requirements needed to play Division I football. After transferring to Georgia, Wyatt rotated on the defensive line for two years before becoming a starter in 2020. Wyatt decided to use the extra year of eligibility, granted due to COVID-19, to come back for the 2021 season and it certainly paid off. Brugler has Wyatt as the 4th-best interior defensive lineman and he’s expected to be selected in the middle rounds of the draft.

Dean was a 5-star recruit and the consensus second-ranked inside linebacker in the 2019 graduating class. The much-ballyhooed linebacker made an immediate impact in his freshman year before nabbing the starting job for his entire sophomore and junior seasons. He culminated his final season not only with a National Championship trophy but also with the 2021 Butkus Award trophy given to the top linebacker in college football. He finished the season second on the team in tackles (behind fellow draft hopeful, Cine) and with the team lead in tackles for loss. Dean is the 2nd-best linebacker on Brugler’s list and is widely expected to go in the first round.

Cine was a Top-100 recruit in the 2019 graduating class. Cine played every game his freshman season before taking over as the starting safety for the next two seasons. Cine led the team in tackles for the season and made a few big plays to help the team clinch their National Championship. Brugler has Cine as the 3rd-best safety in the draft and he’s expected to hear his name called on Day 1 or early in Day 2 of the draft.

These eight aren’t the last Bulldogs expected to declare for the draft, either. Although no announcements have been made, defensive tackle, and winner of the 2021 Outland Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award, Jordan Davis, linebackers Channing Tindall and Quay Walker, and cornerback Derion Kendrick all are expected to be weighing their options and could set their sights on the NFL.