In the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans chose the fourth former Georgia player of the draft in D’Andre Walker with the 168th overall pick.
Christion Abercrombie, a football player at Tennessee State, grew up playing youth football with Walker. Last fall, Abercrombie suffered a life-threatening injury in TSU’s game against Vanderbilt. Last weekend in Nashville, Abercrombie took the stage and announced the Titan’s fifth-round selection: his childhood friend, Walker.
Walker, an outside linebacker, finished with 113 career tackles as a Bulldog and 13.5 sacks, 7.5 of which came in his senior season. The 6-foot-2, 251-pound native of Fairburn, Georgia, is a little undersized for a prototypical NFL linebacker but can still prove effective if in the right spots as a strong pass rusher and sound run defender.
In the SEC Championship against Alabama, Walker led the defense with five tackles, a forced fumble and a sack. At Georgia’s postseason team gala, Walker was the co-recipient of the “Defensive Up Front” Award. However, Walker did not get to showcase his skills in many of the postseason platforms such as the NFL combine, Senior Bowl and Georgia’s pro day because of a January sports hernia surgery.
37-year-old Cameron Wake signed with the Titans in March and leads a thin position group. Wake is still a productive player, but is getting up there in age. Harold Landry and Kamalei Correa are both under the age of 25 and if Walker is healthy, he could push both of them for the spot opposite Wake on the edge.
Tennessee finished with one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2018 but still finished third in the AFC South. The Titans’ woes are more on the offensive side, but boosting their defense with the addition of Walker won’t hurt. Walker’s lingering injuries will determine how productive he can be in the offseason. But if he’s healthy, Walker will be a welcomed addition to Tennessee’s edge rush and help cover for the underwhelming offense.