Devontez Walker King Fantasy Sports

Devontez Walker - WR - North Carolina

Devontez Walker had a long and interesting road not only to the Power 5 level in college but to where he stands as an NFL prospect. He drives a lot of conversation as the draft analysts seem pretty split on where he can provide at the next level. He’s uber-athletic with great size, but a lot of people point to the lack of refinement at the position.

Measurables

Height: 6′ 0″

Weight: 197 lbs

Age: 23

40-yard dash: N/A

3-cone drill: N/A

20-yard shuttle: N/A

Vertical Jump: N/A

Broad Jump: N/A

Bench Press: N/A

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceivingRushingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2021Kent StateMACFRWR8512424.81000512424.81
2022Kent StateMACSO125892115.9113299.716195015.612
*2023North CarolinaACCSOWR84169917.073237.704472216.47
CareerOverall104174416.8196528.71110179616.320
Kent State63104516.6123299.7166107416.313
North Carolina4169917.073237.704472216.47
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/2/2024.

Notable Headlines

Devontez (“Tez”) Walker was a low three-star recruit out of high school with only an 80 rating by both 247Sports and the 247Sports Composite. He went on to enroll at North Carolina Central, home of the Eagles, an FCS college, in 2020. But this was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the FCS didn’t play their season that year, resulting in Walker sitting out an entire year. The following season, Walker made the jump to the G5 of the FBS level with Kent State. It was slow going as a redshirt freshman as he only accumulated 5 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown across 8 games.

The following season was when Walker broke out at Kent State, having his first 100-yard game against reigning national champions, the Georgia Bulldogs. He finished the season strong with 4 total 100-yard games and nearing that 1,000-yard receiving mark with 921 receiving yards. His performance that season led Kent State in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, and led to First-Team All-MAC honors.

Tez Walker went on to parlay that successful season with Kent State into a Power 5 opportunity with North Carolina as the Tar Heels looked to retool after losing Josh Downs and Antoine Green. The year started rough for Walker due to the NCAA denying his transfer eligibility in a dispute with UNC that played out in the public. Eventually, the NCAA allowed Walker to play and in just 8 games he nearly led the team in receiving yards and receptions but did lead the Tar Heels in receiving touchdowns. He was immediately Drake Maye’s favorite target with three games of over 125 receiving yards while averaging a staggering 17 yards per catch. Despite the short season, Walker still earned Third-team All-ACC honors and declared for the NFL Draft as a redshirt junior. 

Scouting Report

Positives

Despite showing up to the senior bowl smaller than anticipated, Walker still has good size, listed at 6’0” and 197 lbs. His size/speed combination is what stands out as he provides a unique pairing thanks to his top-end speed. With that top-end speed and his ball-tracking ability, Walker is already a viable deep threat. Additionally, he provides good length and the ability to extend outside of his frame with reliable hands to create a bigger catch window for his quarterbacks to hit.

After the catch, Tez brings a nice ability to create plus yardage in the open field. He can be physical after the catch, not afraid of contact, and willing to keep his legs churning like a running back. That physicality paired with his size and extension creates a very formidable red zone threat. He’s just such a natural athlete with his speed, size, and playmaking ability. Finally, while there aren’t a lot of blocking reps on his tape, he shows a willingness to block for his teammates while utilizing his length and physicality to be effective in this area.

Negatives

While Walker is a natural athlete and has pretty good ball skills already, a lot of his negatives come from the nuances of the position. His body control could improve to help improve his contested catch ability which one would expect to be better with his play style. He is still a very raw player, likely due to the unique start to his collegiate career. Missing his first season at the FCS level and then working his way up to the Power 5 level for just one year of coaching at that level that was cut short due to eligibility constraints means there’s likely a lot of untapped potential there. And it’s evident as there are a lot of areas he could stand to improve as a route runner.

Against press, he didn’t quite show the physicality or quickness that he’s capable of and has shown in the open field. He tended to get jammed in the few reps he did get pressed at the line and has a very long developing release package, throwing off his timing. Additionally, he can get caught up with physical corners within his routes despite his usual size advantage, again throwing off his timing. 

Tez lacks the route-running nuance that you have to have at the NFL level. He doesn’t consistently deceive opposing defensive backs with a bag of moves and fakes that he can fall back on. He runs tall within his breaks, making them look sluggish and rounded when he needs to drop his hips consistently to create additional separation. His short and intermediate routes can be lacking as he thrives on screens and deep passes. He can win in those areas but he has to grow as a route runner and win at all levels to be more than just a role player in the NFL.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 4

Landing Spots

Devontez Walker provides a player with an already defined skill set as a deep threat and field stretcher, but with the potential still there to develop into much more. The Panthers is a team that needs to take as many shots as they can at the wide receiver position and Walker is a great candidate in the middle rounds of the draft. He has the potential to be a quarterback’s best friend and paired with another selection earlier in the draft or a veteran free agent, Walker could have the time needed to develop more. 

Additionally, the Cleveland Browns need a reliable WR2 for their team as well as someone to eventually fill the void of Amari Cooper as he gets older but also as his contract is set to expire after the 2024 season. Elijah Moore and David Njoku are both the second and third targets right now, but drafting Walker for the future and letting him sit and develop might be the best thing for him. And then by next season, he could be ready to make that jump into a steady target for the team and potentially more.

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Image Credit: Nell Redmond – USA TODAY Sports