After addressing two needs on offense in the first and second rounds of the NFL draft, the Lions switched gears in round three and picked up help on the defensive side of the ball with the selection of defensive back Tracy Walker out of Louisiana.
Walker is an athletic safety who started 12 games for the Ragin' Cajuns this past season, finishing as the team-leader in tackles (97) and interceptions (2). He finished his career ranked third all-time in Louisiana history for tackles by a defensive back (276 career tackles). He also defended 26 passes, had 11 tackles for loss and eight interceptions.
View photos of defensive back Tracy Walker.
"Good size, very athletic, playmaking, ball skills, toughness, tackling, speed,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said of what he liked in Walker.
“When he played against the highest level of competition on his schedule ... I’d say go watch the Texas A&M game.”
Quinn said Walker was one of the best players in the East/West Shrine Game, including the entire week of practice.
Walker joins a safety group that includes Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson, Miles Killebrew and potentially Quandre Diggs, who can play both safety and corner, Charles Washington, Stefan McClure and Rolan Milligan.
Walker started 42 games over his college career, starting with the last eight as a true freshman. He measured in at 6-foot-1 and 206 pounds at the Combine, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds. Walker has the kind of frame and traits that could lend him to play some cornerback as well, and be a movement player in sub packages.
“Definitely me being agile and being able to play man-to-man," Walker said at the Combine of how playing basketball helped his football career. "Definitely, I know how to stay in front of somebody and not just let somebody run around me.
"It definitely helped me out a lot with different techniques. Football is different from basketball, but it’s not too much different. You still have to be an athlete and be able to compete.”