The USC Trojans have had an outstanding tradition of offensive linemen over the years, including a great recent run of high profile picks that have been extremely effective in the NFL. Aundrey Walker, the team’s right guard, is a giant man from a giant family. Walker has 16 siblings and is the youngest of 14 brothers. Unfortunately for Walker, his 2013 ended due to a broken ankle against UCLA, but he is healthy and looking to have a big senior year.
Walker has excellent size, good strength and impressive movement skills. He looks the part and his combination of size and athleticism is not easy to find. On those facts alone, it is easy to see how he ended up at a school like USC and he will certainly draw the eyes of NFL scouts as a result. His range and ability to move shows some intriguing possibilities for teams that want to be able to have lineman that can move but also are hoping to find size. Walker also shows some promising ability against even fronts and can be effective in a phone booth and in conjunction with his teammates on the line.
The issues for Walker start with his lack of ability to bend with his knees. As a result, he has to work harder to win, plays with a narrower base and can have issues with his balance. This also makes it more difficult for him to stay with and finish blocks. In every aspect of his game, but particularly when he is on the move, he needs to break down and sink his hips so he can move opponents out of the running lanes.
There is a lot that Walker needs to improve on as a lineman, but if he can do it, especially when it comes to his ability to bend, he could make a huge leap in his play and production for the Trojans.. For someone with his physical gifts, being able to maximize them would be allow for him to make a huge movement up draft boards and perhaps go from being borderline draftable to becoming a day two pick.
Vitals & Build
- Date of Birth not listed
- 6’6″ 315lbs (Listed)
Walker looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman with a great build combined with his overall length. He appears to have the strength to be a productive offensive lineman in the NFL, but his functional strength is an issue. An inability to get low and gain leverage makes him have to try to overpower opponents from a disadvantage. Along with this, his balance becomes an issue as he ends up with a narrow base because he is not a good bender. The times he is able to get some leverage, it is by bending at the waist.
Walker is fully recovered from the broken ankle, but that was lost time he had to train and try to improve the issue in the offseason. His physical potential is impressive and he has the prototypical size for the NFL. Improving his flexibility as a senior would be extremely important for Walker, but an NFL team might bring him as a long term project because of his size and athleticism and see if they can fix the issues that hold him back.
From an athletic standpoint, Walker can do everything a team could want. He gets off of the ball well, moves effectively and can get to any spot on the field. Walker has no issues when it comes to getting to the second level, pulling or moving the pocket. Between his size and movement skills, he is capable of playing tackle.
- Walker really gets off the ball well and he gets to the second level quickly, making it difficult for the opposing linebacker to react.
The issue for Walker comes from his flexibility and overall lack of knee bend. Walker moves extremely well and would probably look tremendous in a workout, but on the field, his struggles to sink his hips and bend effectively make him look stiff. As a result, Walker’s movement skills look good, but less impressive than they should. His combination of size and movement skills alone could get him drafted.
As a run blocker, Walker is a mixed bag. Physically, he can do it all. Technically, he leaves a lot to be desired and shows flashes but is wildly inconsistent. His explosion off of the ball, ability to pull and range make him impressive looking from an athletic point of view. When he connects the right way, he can show a nice mean streak and send a message to the opponent.
His struggles with bending his knees can cause him to put his head down and lunge at opponents to get proper pad level. He can also have issues when it comes to digging opponents out of a hole in space as well as hitting the right shoulder.
- Walker picks up and digs out the blitz from Utah and drives him off the ball, showcasing a mean streak. He ends up losing the block at the end unfortunately.
- Walker comes off of the line and helps ensure Marcus Martin’s block before getting to the second level and taking out the linebacker. If he can breakdown and sink his hips, he could drive him down the field, but the results are good.
- Walker gets to the second level and does a nice job shielding Scooby Wright from the play. He just needs to do a better job of staying with it and finishing him, but he did his job on the play.
- Walker does a nice job here with the pull and cut block.
- Walker does a nice job with the pull here and getting to his spot, but he needs to break down more, so he can dig out Marquis Flowers. Flowers looks great here as he gets lower and despite giving up about 70lbs, trips Walker up and the ball carrier has to make the adjustment.
- Everything up to the point of attack on the block is the same, but he is able to get lower and make an impact on the defender, giving the ball carrier an obvious running lane and a bigger gain.
The issues for Walker are pretty clear. If he can become a better knee bender and sink his hips better in space, he can improve dramatically as a run blocker. Should that happen, he becomes a substantially more attractive prospect. The technical issues are also important to address, particularly when it just comes to attacking the right side of the opponent.
Walker can be an effective pass protector because of his natural ballast and length. He is particularly effective when it comes to playing in a phone booth. He also is effective for the most part when it comes with operating in the framework of the unit and being able to work with the center and right tackle.
Walker will still have some issues when it comes to power from opponents who are able to get under his pads and his balance as a result. He is natural when it comes to his feet and ability to slide in protection laterally, able to show good range without sacrificing his body position.
- Walker takes on the inside rush and passes him to Martin, then reacts to pick up the stunt from the other defensive tackle and does a great job with both.
Walker is inconsistent when it comes to keeping his head on a swivel and recognizing which rushers are coming and from where. There are some nice examples where Walker does a great job, but there are also situations where he simply does not look around and misses some obvious help situations or players that he should block.
- Utah tries to make a late shift to change their look, but Walker slides inside and picks up the blitzer easily, throwing him outside and giving him an extra message at the end.
- Walker’s focus is on the wrong target, giving the pass rusher a lane and giving his teammate Kevin Graf an almost impossible block. Fortunately, Cody Kessler feels it and gets out of the pocket, avoiding the rush.
Walker seems far more comfortable against even fronts where it is easier to figure out who to block. He also is more comfortable dealing with size and strength than he is with agility and speed. The less decision making he has had to make on the fly, the better he seems to do over the course of a game. When he is sure of what he needs to do, he is far better at executing it and being more effective.
Beyond the issue with his knee bend and the resulting balance issues, Walker needs to do a better job of being able to lock onto opponents when he blocks them. He falls off far too many blocks and is unable to finish opponents. By simply knocking them back, they are free to effectively try to make a play again on a ball carrier, whether it be on a pass or run play. If he could lock on better, he could have much better success when it comes to putting them on the ground.
When it comes to operating in space against the run, he has to do better when it comes to taking on the correct shoulder in a given play. There are far too many situations where he takes the wrong shoulder and the opponent is able to get involved in a play they should have been easily shielded from the play.
- Walker pulls and puts his head down as he takes on the wrong shoulder for James Vaughters. Vaughters is able to get off of block with little effort and while he does not make the tackle for loss, he very well could have.
Walker has terrific feet, especially when it comes to pass protection. He is able to work laterally with little effort, which allows the Trojans to stretch out their protection on that side quite a bit. He is at his best in a phone booth but he shows good range.
- Good look at Walker’s feet in pass protection
Walker also does a good job when it comes to pulling and getting to the second level efficiency when it comes to his steps, but needs to do a better job of breaking down in space. When it comes to getting to the second level between the hashes, Walker is accurate and rarely misses. He has a little more issue when it comes to getting outside of the hashes because he does tend to stay so tall and has trouble cornering.
The potential with his athleticism and feet is intriguing if he can make it more effective with better habits and getting lower with consistency, avoiding lunging at the opponent with his head down.
The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com