Safety Tracy Walker jumped an out route run by tight end T.J. Hockenson during a 7-on-7 drill at Wednesday’s Detroit Lions training camp practice. It allowed him to step in front of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s pass, and Walker returned the interception for a touchdown.
That was right after Walker made a diving play to defect a ball away from wide receiver Andy Jones in a one-on-one drill.
He rounded out his day knocking a pass out of the hands of tight end Logan Thomas in a team period.
Overall, it wasn’t bad Wednesday in Allen Park for the second-year safety.
What Lions fans should be especially excited about, however, is that those kinds of practices have become increasingly more common for Walker.
He’s been one of the real highlights early on in training camp for the Lions, and just another reason why the Lions' defense has the potential to be pretty good in 2019.
A third-round pick by the Lions last year, Walker saw his workload increase steadily as a rookie as the season progressed. By the end of the year, he was an important sub-package player in head coach Matt Patricia’s defense. He enters his second season as a likely starter alongside Quandre Diggs at safety, but like Diggs, Walker has the versatility to play a number of different spots and do a lot of different things within the multiple defense.
“Honestly, I feel more calm and I feel like I have a lot more knowledge back there,” Walker said of his comfort level in the defense entering his second season. “I have a great group of guys that we push each other every day to come out and compete and just be the best we can be ... understanding we’re out here to compete every day.”
Detroit is very deep at the safety position with veterans Tavon Wilson and Andrew Adams joining rookie third-round pick Will Harris in the room with Diggs and Walker. It should allow the Lions to get creative with some of their sub packages. I expect Walker to be a key cog in whatever the Lions do on defense.
Walker says he’s honed in on the mental part of the game. He thinks it's the best opportunity for him to gain an edge in year two. He obviously has terrific physicals tools with his long frame and speed, but everyone is physically gifted in the NFL.
It’s been a good start to camp for Walker, and the Lions certainly hope he keeps trending up.
“With me breaking down film and understanding my mistakes and learning the proper corrections and bringing it out here (to the practice field) and translating it from the field, that’s where I got better at,” Walker said.
“That’s where I see a lot of improvement.”