Oakland Raiders DT Vance Walker Will Break out in His New Starting Role

Vance Walker will be the breakout player of 2013 in his new role as starting defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders. He's a perfect fit as the 3-technique defensive tackle and will do well with Christo Bilukidi, Tommy Kelly and Pat Sims on the roster.

He’s been spending the past four years as part of the Falcons roster and defensive tackle rotation. Before that, Walker was a standout defensive tackle from Georgia Tech, and I personally had him with a second-round grade in the 2009 NFL draft.

When he was available in the seventh round in 2009, it was shocking. But he has turned out to be a better player than Peria Jerry has been for the Falcons. He’s got the potential to really break out now that he’s had some time to develop behind Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters in the rotation.

Walker has been excellent as a run-stuffer, but he really showed his worth with his versatility in multiple sets as a penetrating 1-technique and 3-technique. His pass-rushing still has room to grow. The best comparison for his career will be Rod Coleman.


As a run-stuffer, there were few better.

When Vance Walker was drafted in 2009, he was barely even expected to play in the NFL. However, his ability as a run-stuffer earned him the third spot in the defensive tackle rotation. He was able to stop the running back 11 times behind or at the line of scrimmage despite playing just 133 run defense snaps.

He did more of the same in 2011 and improved despite the increase in snaps from 297 to 389. With the scheme switch in 2012, he truly performed to his best abilities. He earned another snap increase from 389 to 539 and was the second man in the defensive tackle rotation all season. 

He was used all over the formation and truly saw a spike in the run defense. Despite getting the 24 stops at or behind the line on his 267 snaps, the Falcons played better run defense with Wal...

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