Scouting the 2020 NFL Draft: Walker Little, OT, Stanford

In the latest installment of our ‘Scouting the 2020 NFL Draft’ series, we take a look at Stanford left tackle, Walker Little.

Once considered a consensus five-star recruit and the No. 1 prospect in the country (247 sports), Stanford’s Walker Little enters the 2019 season as one of the most promising left tackle prospects in the nation.

Little started all 12 games at left tackle last season and earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors for his play. He was an honorable mention All-Conference player as a freshman after appearing in nine games in 2017.

Physically, Little is anything but, standing an estimated 6-7 and 313 pounds. He has the ideal frame and weight distribution for an offensive tackle in the NFL and his length appears to be at least within the acceptable range for next-level play.

Athletically, Little has a multi-sport background having competed in football, basketball and track in high school, and at times, his above-average athleticism shows itself on tape. That said, there are too many reps where Little’s feet appear heavy and his change of direction skills are lacking. He struggles to redirect against inside counter moves. Against speed rushers, Little is often left to lunge at his opponent in an effort to knock them off their pass-rush track; he needs to develop more urgency off the snap in order to win on the edge.

Little is an adequate run blocker at this point in his development but he needs to get stronger and play with more consistent hand placement so he can sustain his blocks a tick longer.

There’s no denying Little’s raw natural talent, and his questionable tape isn’t surprising considering 2018 was his first full year as a starter. He’s a player who will get better with every rep he takes in 2019 and he’ll only continue to get stronger, too. Experience matters almost as much for offensive tackles as it does for quarterbacks.

At this point, Little is an incomplete evaluation and I wouldn’t count him as a lock to declare for the 2020 NFL draft. He as a lot of work to do before he can be considered a first-round pick, and if he commits to two more seasons of development at Stanford, he could set himself up to be one of the top 10 prospects in 2021.

But the NFL is desperate for offensive linemen, even guys who are raw and lack consistent tape. Little fits that mold right now, and if he has the kind of improvement in 2019 that a player with his pedigree should have, he could end up in the first-round conversation. It’s a big leap of faith at this point, however, and one that shouldn’t be made until he puts together a more consistent body of work this fall.