2017 Colts Rookie Class Grades: Linebacker Anthony Walker
The Colts needed an upgrade at inside linebacker after the 2016 season, and general manager Chris Ballard drafted Anthony Walker to be a solution to that problem for the future.
Indianapolis played a hodge-podge of undrafted players and career journeymen at the inside linebacker position in 2016, and their run defense struggled as a result. Chris Ballard didn’t spend a ton of resources at inside linebacker in his first offseason as general manager, but he did spend a fifth round pick on Anthony Walker.
Walker was one of the best linebackers in the country during his career at Northwestern. He filled up the stat sheet with 105 tackles (62 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 5 pass breakups, and an interception in his final season with the Wildcats.
While Jon Bostic played pretty well at middle linebacker this season, the rest of the linebacking corps really struggled. The Colts’ run defense was much improved in 2017, but that was mainly due to some major upgrades along the defensive line.
With the lack of talent at inside linebacker, it was disappointing to see Anthony Walker struggling to earn playing time all year long. His rookie season was derailed a bit by a hamstring injury early on in 2017, which is part of the reason why he managed to only start two games and play in ten of them.
It’s possible that Walker could’ve earned a larger role if he wouldn’t have suffered that early-season injury, but he didn’t play particularly well when he was healthy either. He finished the season with 8 tackles and 11 assists as his production took a major dip from his outstanding college career.
There is plenty of time for Walker to develop with the Colts, but Chris Ballard will likely focus on fixing the team’s issues at inside linebacker this offseason by adding some talent in the draft and free agency. That will create more competition for Walker, which could inspire him to be much better in 2018.
Next: Former Colt Edgerrin James Named as Hall of Fame Finalist
Here are the rest of our 2017 rookie recaps:
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