The inside linebacker competition on Baltimore Ravens roster is one of the most intriguing story lines to follow this offseason. Zachary Orr, Albert McClellan, Arthur Brown, and Kamalei Correa are all in the mix. But the inside linebacker the Ravens should really be looking for already wears purple but doesn’t have a Raven on the side of his helmet.
Anthony Walker is going to be a redshirt junior at Northwestern this fall, and he is exactly the kind of linebacker the Ravens have been trying to find to put next to C.J. Mosley.
Walker is a tackling machine. This past season, Walker recorded 122 tackles. He was second in the nation with 20.5 tackles for loss. Walker had multiple otherworldly performances this season. He notched 19 tackles in a single game versus Duke, 14 against Purdue, and 14 tackles (3.5 for loss) against Illinois. As a result of these numbers, Walker was named to the first team all-Big Ten.
To your average college football fan, Walker may not be a household name, but come January, he figures to be near the top of any pre-draft linebacker rankings. Walker is the type of hard-nosed player the Ravens are always looking for. Playing in the Big Ten, and especially in Northwestern defense, Walker already has the grind it out mentality. Walker was a wide receiver as well as a linebacker in high school.
Walker only had one interception as a sophomore, but his receiver experience means he does have good hands. On top of that, Walker has fantastic closing speed. He can read a play of the snap, get to wherever the ball is going to be and lay out punishment to the ball carrier when he gets there. This video displays Walker’s natural ability to be everywhere on the field (Walker is number 18).
And making Walker even more appealable to the Ravens is the fact that Walker has no off-field concerns of any kind.
Walker figures to only improve on his numbers from last season. If he can do that, don’t be surprised to see him projected in, or near, the first round. To me, if Walker can improve on his numbers from a year ago, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roger Goodell calling out his name for the Ravens first selection.