ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons selected former Fresno State linebacker Mykal Walker with the 119th-overall pick in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. After addressing the defensive line and secondary, many expected the Falcons to add a linebacker, and they did so with their first pick on Day 3.
WHY HE FITS
A two-time first-team all-conference selection at Fresno State, Walker was highly productive at the college level and brings plenty of athleticism to the NFL. The Falcons have historically coveted speed at the linebacker position under coach Dan Quinn, and Walker ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds. After losing De'Vondre Campbell in free agency, the Falcons were expected to add more depth to their linebacker corps, and Walker has a history of producing at a high level. During his two seasons at Fresno State, Walker recorded 182 tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10 pass defenses and 6.5 sacks.
Chris Trapasso, CBSSports.com
- Grade: C+
- Comment: "Explosive off-ball linebacker with some experience on the edge. Athleticism helps him get to the football in a hurry. Average-at-best in coverage. Slightly stiff/uncomfortable sinking. Best ranging sideline-to-sideline or flying downhill. Falcons needed linebacker depth."
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report
- Grade: C
- Comment: "Unfortunately, Walker lacks the size and agility to be an NFL edge-rusher and the instincts and range to be effective as an inside linebacker. He could succeed in a specialized role, but it's more likely that he will start his career on the practice squad. He fits the speedy profile the Falcons love in their defenders, but there's a reason the Falcons always seem to need immediate help on defense."
"Scouts say Walker is expected to test well, and it can be hard to ignore the consistency of production over the last three years, but the tape just doesn't pop. As an inside linebacker, his instincts and awareness help take him where he needs to go, but the football movements are too stiff and mechanical and will make it tough to carry the production over as a pro. He has core special-teams potential and might be able to challenge for a late roster spot because of it," NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein writes of Walker.
Editor's note: This story will continue to be updated.
With the No. 119 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Fresno State linebacker Mykal Walker.