Mykal Walker was a fourth round pick last year for the Atlanta Falcons out of Fresno State. Even at that, he was considered a bit of a reach at the time.
Walker and the Falcons showed that the pick was good value as he’s been named to Pro Football Focus’ All-Rookie team.
Pro Football Focus looks into the overall impact on the game rather than just purely stats, though Walker did have 45 tackles and a forced fumble as a rookie, but it was his role as one of the bright spots in Atlanta’s pass coverage that earned him the honor.
“Walker is one of the players who shined in a more limited role,” writes Barry Linsey of Pro Football Focus. “Across 387 defensive snaps this season, he earned a 74.0 overall grade that included a 90.7 grade in coverage. Walker allowed just 74 passing yards into his coverage on 152 coverage snaps all season. He may not have the same stats as several of the other rookie linebackers across the league, but his play warrants some recognition here.”
Recognition he received.
Walker (23), Deion Jones (26), and Foyesade Oluokun (25) give Atlanta a solid, young nucleus of linebackers that should allow the Falcons to focus on the defensive line and secondary in the near future to help revamp a defense that finished last in the NFL.