Devontez Walker’s Draft Profile | North Carolina, WR Scouting Report

North Carolina WR Devontez Walker has the tools to be one of the best vertical threats in the 2024 NFL Draft. His scouting report has the full details.

Where does North Carolina WR Devontez “Tez” Walker rank among WR prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft? Could he challenge for early-round capital after lighting up ACC defenses with Drake Maye in 2023? Let’s take a closer look.

Devontez Walker Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’2 1/2″
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: North Carolina
  • Current Year: Redshirt Junior

It’s been a long and winding path to the present for Walker, who originally began his collegiate career at NC Central. When NC Central’s 2020 season was canceled, he transferred to Kent State and quickly distinguished himself as a big-play threat.

In 2022, Walker emerged with the Golden Flashes, accruing 58 catches for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns — a season that included a seven-catch, 106-yard outing against a Georgia defense flush with NFL talent.

Walker’s 2022 campaign earned him transfer looks from Power Five schools, and he ended up transferring to North Carolina. The Tar Heels provided Walker with an opportunity to improve his 2024 NFL Draft stock, but he’d also be closer to his family and his ailing grandmother.

MORE: Top Wide Receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft

Heading into the year, Walker was at first denied eligibility by the NCAA, who ruled him a two-time transfer and denied his waiver, despite the fact that he never played a snap for NC Central.

Luckily, Walker’s eligibility was eventually restored after resistance from the UNC program and the college football world. He’s now picked up where he left off — with 35 catches for 600 yards and six touchdowns in six games with Maye at the helm.

Devontez Walker Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Explosive long-strider who can quickly accelerate and find space up the seam.
  • Stack specialist with elite long speed and separation generation in the deep third.
  • Sports a tall and lean frame with underrated density and excellent length.
  • Has the zone awareness to sneak behind second-level defenders and exploit windows.
  • Has the ankle flexion to support curvilinear acceleration through DB blind spots.
  • Flashes efficient plant-and-drive footwork and swivel freedom on back-shoulder plays.
  • Showcases stellar ball-tracking ability in the deep third and flows underneath passes.
  • Patient when adjusting and attacking the football downfield, limiting CB reaction time.
  • Can make high-difficulty adjustments with little space while keeping sideline awareness.
  • Has shown to secure tough catches amidst contact over the middle.
  • Effectively gathers the ball away from his frame with diamond technique on RAC plays.
  • Is quick to stabilize the ball against his frame after making contact with hands.
  • Has flashed the ability to use targeted physicality in tandem with release footwork.
  • Has enough play strength to pry through solo arm tackles and keep his speed in space.
  • Speed and wiry strength can be weaponized by sweeps, motions, and versatile usage.

Weaknesses

  • At times, can be a bit more deliberate pressing upfield into stems before cutting back.
  • Can be more intentional with head fakes and eye manipulation at the top of stems.
  • Doesn’t have elite sink on in-breaking routes and plays too tall into stems at times.
  • Can be inconsistent selling DBs on short hitches and sometimes drifts on short routes.
  • Struggles to channel his explosiveness on routes when he’s not able to attack vertically.
  • Doesn’t always throttle up effectively out of intermediate breaks, limiting separation.
  • Is generally inconsistent using throttle control to displace DBs while working upfield.
  • Route tempo is very inconsistent in the short and intermediate ranges.
  • Lacks high-end stopping ability and often takes extra steps to decelerate on comebacks.
  • Has room to further expand his route tree past vertical routes, crossers, and slants.
  • Tends to let the ball into his torso over the middle of the field, which can source drops.
  • Sometimes struggles to work through physicality at stems and can be prone to delays.
  • Can improve at adapting and finding openings for QBs on the scramble drill.
  • Below-average run blocker who plays too tall and lacks great angle discipline.
  • Occasionally prone to focus drops and clap-catches when working past his frame.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

On my board, Walker grades out as a fringe late Day 2-early Day 3 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. For teams that put heightened value on size, speed, and vertical ability, he could draw interest inside the top 75.

Walker has an elite three-trait foundation that elevates his grade: His speed, explosiveness, and high-level catching instincts on the vertical plane, to go along with excellent size at 6’2 1/2″ and 200 pounds.

Once clocked at over 23 miles per hour in a game by Recruiting Analytics, there’s no disputing Walker’s long speed. When he has a runway, he can effortlessly stack defenders on the boundary and gain space. And once he has that space to control leverage, Walker’s incredibly effective at keeping the DB where he wants him and adjusting to the ball.

Walker’s blend of size, length, speed, explosiveness, and instinct makes him a rare deep threat and vertical weapon. That same long-strider explosiveness can also be weaponized laterally on crossers, posts, drags, and sweeps. He’s versatile enough to be a RAC threat, and he can gather throws in stride while keeping pace.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

Past this vertical foundation, however, there are questions with Walker’s 2024 NFL Draft profile. His route-running ability is poor when projecting to the NFL. He has solid zone IQ, but he lacks great sink, intention in his movement, throttle control, and footwork efficiency.

Because of this, it’s unclear if Walker has the route-running building blocks or the nuance to be much more than a deep and lateral RAC threat at the NFL level. Additionally, Walker can be prone to body catches over the middle of the field, and he’s a below-average blocker.

Luckily, within his vertical realm, Walker has the speed, length, patience, ball-tracking ability, and focus to be truly exceptional. At the same time, that role is confined, and his limited route-running ability places him below other taller receivers like Adonai Mitchell, Troy Franklin, and Brian Thomas Jr.

Nevertheless, for an offense that already has a WR1 and another complementary receiver, Walker can add a valuable dynamic as a field stretcher and zone attacker, both vertically and laterally. His ability to generate big plays is matched by few in the 2024 class.

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