Why DeMarcus Walker can remind Broncos of Malik Jackson
Championships are rare achievements, but to make them regular the Denver Broncos need impact from DeMarcus Walker…
Malik Jackson became a terror on the Denver Broncos’ defensive line in 2015 with the ability to play defensive end or tackle.
At one point, there were conversations about who was more valuable up front: Derek Wolfe or Jackson.
This is a reason the Super 50 Denver Broncos defense is considered one of the greatest of all time. They were three or four deep at almost every position.
Fast forward to 2018 and this upcoming season. Like many 2017 draft picks, DeMarcus Walker lacked playing time and didn’t make any contributions until late in the season. Walker is accepting what occurred last year, realizing it was a ”gut-check.”
"“It was really a gut check. But I’ve been through worse things in my life. Like I just told them earlier, I had to finish out strong. That was my biggest key,”Walker stated on Monday (quotes via Broncos PR)"
Scouts can critique talent, but there was never a doubt about Walker’s professionalism.
He was the consummate teammate immediately when he arrived. With Walker, there is talent in his game that parallels that of the aforementioned Malik Jackson.
Jackson came into the NFL in 2012 as a fifth-round selection. Based on Jackson’s current NFL makeup, Walker as a 2017 second-round value tells me the Denver Broncos obviously miss Jackson.
The first season did not start as Walker or the Broncos hoped. Walker played predominantly outside linebacker, which was a mistake. In 2018, Walker is gaining the weight back to his normal standards at around 280 pounds.
Monday, Walker spoke about his weight and what he has done differently. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods also agrees about Walker playing at 275-280.
"”Just eating more. Hitting the weight room like I was. Eating 4-5 meals a day, that was my biggest thing that I had to adjust to”DeMarcus Walker"
"“As long as, to me if he’s in the 270s or 280s, that’s good enough for us to play the defensive end position and to play as an inside rusher.He’s improving. Last year, he was a versatile player for us. We feel like he could play outside linebacker and a defensive line position. With the injuries we moved him to outside linebacker. Right now, we said ‘Hey, you’re a defensive lineman”Joe Woods"
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Ironically, Walker’s weight is similar to that of Jackson. Walker has a quick first step on the defensive line helping create extra sack opportunities. He does have an inconsistent motor, but Bill Kollar will help turn on that engine consistently.
If it all clicks for Walker, he will rival Jackson’s 2012-2015 value with the Denver Broncos. He has the first step but also an array of swim moves to evade tackles or guards. Not to be outdone, he uses great leverage to put him in win-win situations against bigger linemen.
Every player from the 2017 NFL Draft will see larger roles this season and Walker is part of that.
Walker gets to ”wake-up” now by individual drills. It affords him the chance to work hand in hand with coaches to help get him right.
"”Way easier, way smoother. Practice is easier now. It seriously is. Team practice is the easiest part to me. Getting through individuals is what wakes me up.”Walker on Monday talking about practices."
Simply put, Walker is invigorated and will see significant playing time initially if his impressions in OTAs transition to Training Camp.