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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

Kenneth Walker III, Penn State v Michigan State
Kenneth Walker III, Penn State v Michigan State
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This season, Kenneth Walker came out of nowhere, leading the nation in broken tackles with 89. He is one of the fastest risers in the draft at running back. As only a three-star high school prospect, Walker came into college with less fanfare than his peers (at least in this draft class).

He has one of the best and most consistent PFF grading splits across the board, but he will likely perform best in a gap/power scheme that allows him to one-cut, use his acceleration, and get vertical quickly.


Kenneth Walker III Profile

Name

Kenneth Walker III

Age

21

Height

5’10”

Weight

210

Position

RB

School

Michigan State


Kenneth Walker III Combine Results

Arm Length (inches)

30 ⅜”

40-Yard Dash Time (seconds)

4.38

Short Shuttle/Pro Agility (seconds)

N/A

Three Cone/”L-Drill” (seconds)

N/A

Vertical Jump (feet. inches)

34

Broad Jump (inches)

122


Kenneth Walker III Scouting Report

Kenneth Walker III was a three-star running back coming out of high school. He spent his first two college seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to Michigan State for his final year.

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He had a decent career at Wake Forest, having over 500 rushing yards in his first and second seasons. He also had four touchdowns in the first year and 13 touchdowns in his second year at Wake Forest.

Walker's first year at Michigan State, his final year in college, is where he proved himself to be a premier running back. He finished the 2021 season with 1,636 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, garnering the Doak Walker Award, Associated Press All-American honors, and sixth place in the Heisman Trophy voting.


Strengths

Kenneth Walker III is a great running back with excellent speed and elusiveness. He also possesses a solid compact frame, which will allow him to take on a high workload in the NFL and play with his pads at a low level.

He plays with excellent body control and can change direction quickly. He can stop on a dime and promptly regain his speed again.

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On top of that, he can hit holes hard and fast and gain positive yards in adverse situations. Walker also has excellent ball control and only had one fumble at Michigan State.


Weaknesses

Kenneth Walker III lacks patience with letting blocks develop and sometimes struggles with reading his blockers. He also cuts back despite having clear holes to run through.

Lastly, he needs to improve on his impact in the passing game. He cannot be a threat as a receiver and tends to whiff when taking on blockers.


Trait-Based Projection

Kenneth Walker III is a robust and compact running back who is speedy and elusive and would thrive most in a power run scheme. He would benefit from not having to wait for his blocks to develop, and he would have the ability to hit holes hard and fast.

However, Walker is not much help in the passing game. He struggles with blocking and is not much of a threat receiving either. Due to the fact that he is not much help in the pass game, he may end up being used mainly for short-yardage and goal-line situations only.


Analytics Corner

Kenneth Walker recorded the third-best Football Outsiders Speed Score. The “Speed Score” is a very simple formula/concept, but much more predictive than a 40 yard dash time alone. For physics fans, it's essentially measuring force instead of just speed by including a RB’s mass. Hence, weighing in at 211 for running a 4.38 40 yard dash, Walker recorded a 114.7 “Speed Score”, trailing only Isaih Pacheo from Rutgers and Breece Hall from Iowa State. This puts Kenneth Walker in the “famed” 110.0 plus club.

According to Football Outsiders:“Breaking a Speed Score of 110.0 is special; it gets you into some rarified air. Only 75 of the 593 running backs to do a 40-yard dash at the combine since they went to electronic timing in 1999 have hit 110.0, and about 35% of them have gone on to have successful NFL careers. That doesn't sound like a huge number, but only 15% of all running backs to show up at the combine manage 2,500 yards in their first five seasons, so we're talking being two or three times as likely to succeed once you enter this sort of range.”

Follow all the updates from Day 1 of NFL Draft 2022 on Sportskeeda's live blog


Edited by Piyush Bisht

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