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Kenneth Walker III NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Michigan State RB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 13: Kenneth Walker III #9 of the Michigan State Spartans runs up the field against the Maryland Terrapins in the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 13, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

HEIGHT: 5'9 1/4"

WEIGHT: 211

HAND: 9 1/2"

ARM: 30 3/8"

WINGSPAN:  6'1"

40-YARD DASH: 4.38

3-CONE: DNP

SHUTTLE: DNP

VERTICAL: 34"

BROAD: 10'2"

POSITIVES

— Above-average build for the position.

— A bundle of energy with the ball in his hands. Can look frantic but never plays out of control and understands how to tempo his runs.

— Very good burst through the hole and has enough speed to consistently bounce runs to the outside. Can get to the second level in a hurry and also has legit home run speed.

— Good balance, play strength and short-area quickness. Can make defenders miss in tight spaces and is also strong enough to run through arm tackles.

— Willing to run through defenders. Is not scared to attempt to run over would-be tacklers.

—.Understands the intent of various run concepts. Presses the hole and understands when to bounce runs or just get north and take what the defense gives him.

— Good vision and feel for runs. Consistently sees the flow of the defense and knows when to work against the grain.

— Good hands out of the backfield.

NEGATIVES

— Poor in pass protection, and technique will need work. Has good eyes but tries to cut-block instead of taking blitzers square on.

— Limited route tree at this point in time.

— Had a notable amount of touches this past season.

2021 STATISTICS

12 G, 264 ATT, 1,646 YDS (6.2 AVG), 18 TD, 13 REC, 89 YDS, 1 TD

NOTES

— 2021 Heisman finalist.

— 2021 Doak Walker Award winner.

— 2021 Walter Camp National Player of the Year .

— 2021 Big Ten Running Back of the Year.

— 2021 first-team All-Big Ten.

— Transfer from Wake Forest.

OVERALL

Walker is a dynamic running back with the potential to be a true three-down starter in the NFL. He has the burst to hit the hole and and the acceleration and overall speed to consistently get to the edge on outside runs and when bouncing runs.

Walker is a tough runner with good play strength. He can run through arm tackles and is more than willing to try to run defenders over if they stand in his way.

Walker can appear chaotic in his play style, but he is always under control. He understands how to tempo his runs and press the hole on various run concepts. He knows how to set up his blockers. He gets linebackers to commit and can consistently take advantage of the holes that open up because of his good vision and very good burst.

Once Walker plants his foot, he gets north and flies through the hole. At the second level, he's able to make defenders miss in open space with his agility. He is able to sharply cut and quickly accelerate to create even more yards for the offense.

In the passing game, Walker shows good hands, but he was not asked to run a varied route tree. He is comfortable catching the ball, but he will need to refine his routes to expand his game even more. And he has the athleticism and body control to do so.

While he has good eyes in pass protection, Walker is poor with his technique at this point in time. He too often chooses to cut the blitzer or turns his shoulders, which allows the defender to win.

Overall, Walker is a fun and exciting player who can add big-play ability to any NFL team's backfield while also being polished and efficient to take whatever is blocked for him. The juice he brings along with the vision and understanding of how to tempo his runs will allow him to be a contributor in any sort of run scheme.

What he brings to the table will allow him to be an immediate starter for any team without an entrenched running back. Walker might not be a heavy-touch type of player because of his size, but he still has room to grow in protection and the passing game, making him a three-down threat that any NFL team should love to have.

GRADE: 7.8 (Potential Impact Player - 2nd Round)

PRO COMPARISON: Tony Pollard