The Cleveland Browns signed defensive tackle Ricky Walker on Saturday.
Walker was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech but did not make the final roster. He did not catch on with another NFL team and subsequently played for the Tampa Bay Vipers in the XFL.
The 6-foot-2 and 301-pound Walker was a second-team All-ACC selection in 2018 after leading the Hokies with 10.5 tackles for loss while playing part of the season with a foot injury.
Walker was not invited to the annual Scouting Combine in 2019, but showed enough at his Pro Day - a 4.9 in the 40 and 24 reps in the bench press - to catch the attention of ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who had Walker as a potential third-day selection, according to a story The Virginian-Pilot prior to the draft:
“Walker to me is a guy that has a chance. You see him in the right game, he looks like a guy who could be maybe (selected) in the fourth or fifth round. … He was a productive player. He was a solid, reliable player. He doesn’t have to be a guy who can just occupy. He showed some quickness and disruption capabilities.”
Kyle Crabbs at The Draft Network was not as high on Walker, however:
Ricky Walker is fun: his short area quickness and motor have afforded him an accomplished college career. But it is difficult to project a successful role for Walker in the pros. He comes up short in almost every baseline required for an interior defensive lineman physically and his style of play at the college level will have a much more difficult time succeeding in the pros. Walker’s best hope is to latch onto a team as a depth player.
That last line about finding a role as a depth player fits in with the opportunity that Walker has with the Browns as the team has been searching for some additional help at defensive tackle since Andrew Billings opted out of the season.