A Closer Look at Green Bay Packers LB Quay Walker

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Quay Walker (7) and Nakobe Dean (17) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Quay Walker (7) and Nakobe Dean (17) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that the draft is in the rearview mirror, we will be taking a closer look at each of the Green Bay Packers draft picks along with the UDFA signings as well.

In this series, I’ll be discussing the need that the Packers had at the position, how the prospect could fit on this team, some of their stats you need to know, and at the end, we will dive into a few pre-draft scouting reports.

Up first, is linebacker Quay Walker, who the Green Bay Packers selected at No. 22 overall.

Need: I’m sure, like many of you, I was very surprised to see the Green Bay Packers select Quay Walker because of the position that he plays. After years of putting few resources into the linebacker position, in one offseason, the Packers signed De’Vondre Campbell to a — well deserved — five-year contract worth $50 million, and then they spent the 22nd overall pick on a linebacker as well.

While I can’t say I saw this coming, when it comes to upgrading the defensive side of the ball, the LB2 role was arguably the weakest position–although some will question whether it was a need worth investing the 22nd overall pick in.

Role: Looking back at the Green Bay Packers’ linebacker usage last season, I likened it to the chicken or the egg scenario. Did the Packers utilize one linebacker as often as they did because they wanted to? Or was it out of necessity? Well, based on the selection of Walker, it was out of necessity.

Having Walker will allow Green Bay to play out of a true nickel package much more often–which typically has two linebackers on the field. This will also reduce their need for having a third safety on the field as well–a position that has some unknowns currently.

Walker was a very reliable tackler at Georgia, missing only six tackles over his career, out of 107 attempts, according to PFF ($$). Perhaps his biggest impact early on will come against the run, where the Packers ranked 30th in yards per carry allowed last season, but he certainly has the athleticism and versatility to hang with linebackers and running backs in coverage. It’s also important to note that Walker also has 464 career special teams snaps under his belt as well.

"“Having two interchangeable pieces there just gives our defense so much flexibility to stay in a certain personnel grouping. That was certainly attractive,” Brian Gutekunst said via Packers Wire. “You see in the league sometimes, there are certain defenses that don’t have to get out of certain personnel packages and it makes it really tough on offenses. His range and speed and explosiveness as a tackler just wasn’t something we thought we could pass up.”"

Stats to Know: Walker was on the field for 949 career snaps, with 450 of them coming in 2021. He tallied 16 pressures, per PFF, along with two sacks, and as already mentioned, was a very good tackler, missing only 3.9% of his attempts. In coverage, he allowed 17 receptions on 21 targets but for only 7.2 yards per catch with a pair of pass breakups.

Walker finished the year ranked 18th out of all linebackers by PFF’s coverage grade and fourth in their tackling grade. He would spend most of his time lined up in the box, but he does have 125 career snaps from the slot and a good amount of special teams experience also.


What do the pre-draft reports say about Walker?

Lance Zierlein – NFL.com

"“Walker had to wait his turn at Georgia, but he has become a well-schooled, instinctive linebacker ready for the NFL game. He has good size and clear eyes from the second level, with a talent for recognizing play design. He plays disciplined, team-oriented football but is unlikely to become a top-level playmaker as a pro. His chase speed and body control are just average when ranging to tackle or covering in space. Walker is dependable and consistent and projects as a good backup with eventual starter potential at inside linebacker.”"

The Draft Network

"“Walker is an uber-athletic and rangy linebacker. His impact is felt in the run game, in coverage, and pressuring the quarterback. Prior to 2021, Walker did not start a game until the 2020 season. His lack of starting experience leaves his FBI and processing ability open for growth.”"

Tony Pauline – Pro Football Network

"“Positives: Athletic linebacker with a three-down game. Breaks down well, effectively uses his hands to protect himself, and makes a lot of plays in space. Slides off blocks to get to the action, covers a tremendous amount of area on the field, and shows speed in pursuit.Quickly gets into space to make the tackle on screen passes, gets outstanding depth on pass drops, and smoothly changes direction. Stays with assignments, plays heads-up football, and battles to make plays. Gives effort defending the run and fires upfield on the blitz.Negatives: Does not always take proper angles and overruns plays. Not a stout linebacker. Gets caught up in the trash.Analysis: Walker is an athletic linebacker who showed a lot of progress in his game the past two seasons and comes with a large upside. He possesses skill, versatility, and the athleticism to be used at inside or outside linebacker. Walker possesses tremendous upside and has the tools to develop into a starting three-down”"

Daniel Jeremiah – NFL.com

"“Walker is an enormous off-ball linebacker (6-4, 241) with a nice blend of speed and physicality. In coverage, he is fluid and plenty fast enough to match up with tight ends and running backs. In zone coverage, he doesn’t have great anticipation, but once he diagnoses what’s happening, he closes quickly. When he rushes off the edge, he doesn’t have much of a plan — but his speed/effort is outstanding. He is a violent run defender; he attacks blockers, thuds off them and makes plays. He has exceptional burst and range on plays to the perimeter. Overall, Walker is a size/speed, run-and-hit linebacker with his best football still ahead of him.”"