Grading the Detroit Lions 2018 draft class way too soon

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Nick Bawden
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Nick Bawden /
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Tracy Walker C+

Tracy Walker has the reputation of a jack of all trades. He lined up all over the secondary for the Louisianna-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. Walker played as a single high safety, a box safety, a nickel corner, and on the outside. He is a safety in the NFL, but that situational versatility will make it difficult for teams to get the Lions into a poor matchup when he is on the field. The problem is that with great versatility in a prospect recurrently comes a lack of any refinement to their game.

Bryce Rossler of did a detailed scouting report on Walker shortly after the pick was made. What he saw appears to be just that. Often college players are able to get away with exploiting their athleticism if their coaches move them around a lot. Rather than learning the nuances of a single position, they are put in a place to create mayhem simply by being the best athlete on the field. Walker certainly did that during his college career. He disrupts plays and gets his hands on the ball.

This lack of focus has both advantages and disadvantages. Playing in multiple positions can give a player a greater feel for the entirety of the defense. Walker has said that if playing does not work out he would like to become the head coach of a high school or college football team. He is, by all reports, an intelligent student of the game. Players like this can often become great leaders on the field if given the opportunity to focus on learning a single job for a year or two.

The Lions have both Tavon Wilson, Glover Quin, and Miles Killebrew under contract for two seasons, Deshawn Shead and Quandre Diggs are also under contract for this season and capable of playing multiple roles. There is no pressure for Walker to get on the field immediately. The Lions were in a unique position to offer this player the time he needs to percolate. The lack of positional need or likely immediate impact on such a high pick limits the grade I can give the selection, however.