Green Bay moved up eight positions in the first round to take Walker, who is noted for his size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and athletic ability. It also marked the second consecutive year the Packers used their first-round selection on an FSU player -- they selected defensive end Jamal Reynolds in the 2001 draft.
Additionally, former FSU defensive back LeRoy Butler has spent his entire 12-year career with the Packers, while former Seminole Edgar Bennett, one of the most productive running backs in Green Bay Packers history as a player, is the team's director of player programs.
"To tell you the truth, I'm excited," Walker said.
"I think it's a great opportunity, for me to come in and be around one of the best quarterbacks (Brett Favre) in the game. Obviously, having a guy like Leroy Butler, and Jamal Reynolds, who I know real well, and some of the players that I met when I came to visit, it helps. It's a great opportunity for me to come in and hopefully play, and do things to help out the Green Bay Packers' organization."
Walker led the Seminoles with 45 catches for 944 yards and seven touchdowns last season -- culminating win an MVP performance in the Gator Bowl, where he caught four passes for 195 yards and two scores. Walker then ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash in the NFL Combine and bench-pressed 225 pounds 18 times in his workout at FSU for pro scouts and coaches.
Walker was the third receiver selected behind Tennessee's Donte' Stallworth (New Orleans, 13th overall) and Hawaii's Ashley Lelie (Denver, 19th) and represents the Seminoles' 14th first-round selection since 1992.
Hoping to improve their passing game by giving quarterback Brett Favre more targets, the Packers moved up in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks to select Walker. Walker is considered a solid route runner and big-play specialist. His average of 21.0 yards per catch last season was just shy of the school single-season record of 21.7 yards by Hassan Jones in 1985.
Walker hopes to make an impact as a rookie.
"I want to come in and be able to make an impact and help our team win and put us in the best position," Walker said. "I'm looking forward to whatever I have to do for the coaches and the staff -- whatever I have to learn to make an impact, because I believe I'm that type of player."
In two seasons with the Seminoles, Walker, a junior-college transfer, hauled in 65 passes for 1257 yards (19.3 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. Walker also views himself as a quick learner. Green Bay was one of 10 teams Walker had visited leading up to the draft.
"When I came up for my visit, I think they threw the playbook at me, and they were really surprised at what I did the day that I came in," Walker said. "Watching the film, it's like a lot of the things we did at Florida State, Besides, having a quarterback like Brett Favre, the way he can scramble and roll, I'm willing to take it the distance, if he just launches it up. I;m looking forward to coming in and picking up the offense and learning everything I possibly could learn to be a great NFL player."
WALKER NOTES: All-America third-team and All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, earning second-team All-ACC honors from the media â€¦ Started every game, seeing action mostly at split end, but also lined up at flanker â€¦â€¦ His average of 85.82 yards per game receiving ranked second in the conference â€¦ Gained over 100 yards in five games â€¦ Did everything at NFL workout except lift. ... Had a 39Â½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot, 6-inch long jump. Ran two 40s (4.38 and 4.41). ... Entered junior college in 1998 and played in 1998 and 1999. .. Transferred to FSU for the 2000 season. ...Injured his ankle in his first year at Florida State, missed three games and was sick this past spring. very good route runner and can gain separation on the defender. ... Will drop some passes and make some big plays. ... Might not like to come across the middle. ... Had a very good year in 2001 and a great showing in the Gator Bowl â€" had four catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns. ... High-school running back with 1,900 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior in Louisiana and also returned two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns. ... Is an outstanding jumper and competed in the triple and long jump for track. ... Signed a baseball contract out of high school. Spent two summers in Florida Marlins organization. ... Spent one full season and two summers in the organization â€¦ Was elevated as high as Class AA with Portland (Maine) of the Eastern League.
WALKER NEWS CONFERENCE SATURDAY
Being a Packer
To tell you the truth, I'm excited. I think it's a great opportunity, for me to come in and be around one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Obviously, having a guy like Leroy Butler, and Jamal Reynolds, who I know real well, and some of the players that I met when I came to visit, it helps. It's a great opportunity for me to come in and hopefully play, and do things to help out the Green Bay Packers' organization.
Does playing professional baseball (rightfield, in Class A Utica, NY, in the Florida Marlins organization) help prepare you for life as a professional football player?
I think that the experience at the time, at the age that I was, I matured quickly. I was in an organization with Gary Sheffield, and Kevin Brown, Bobby Bonilla, where they were a lot older, and took the passion of winning to the heart. I adapted to that really well at a young age. Being around grown folks when I was only a teenager let me have the experience of being at work on time and doing the right things to represent the organization well.
Coach Sherman had a lot of praise for your character. Does that have to do with your upbringing?
It has a lot to do with my parents. They always were people who told me not to be around people who said the word if -- if shouldn't be in my vocabulary, because I should strive for the best. I believe in doing that. I think having a great character means bringing out the best in your team and your teammates. It brings the best out of them. If everyone's on the same page, as far as being positive and winning, it's going to help the winning tradition. It relieves a lot of stress and animosity from people. By being the person that I am, I kept a lot of things mutual.
Do you think of yourself as a quick study, as far as the playbook goes?
When I came up for my visit, I think they threw the playbook at me, and they were really surprised at what I did the day that I came in. Watching the film, it's like a lot of the things we did at Florida State, Besides, hacing a quarterback like Brett Favre, the way he can scramble and roll, I'm willing to take it the distance, if he just launches it up. I'm looking forward to coming in and picking up the offense and learning everything I possibly could learn to be a great NFL player.
How close are you to getting your degree?
I need 12 hours as of right now. That's something me and Edgar Bennett talked about. Twelve hours.
Do you expect to start as a rookie?
I hope for myself -- I've been putting in the work, and compliments came from guys who I was training with up until today. "You're the only guy I know still working out, three days, two days, one day before the draft," just for the simple fact I know now it's just starting for me. I wanrt to come in and be able to make an impact and help our team win and put us in the best position. I'm looking forward to whatever I have to do for the coaches and the staff -- whatever I have to learn to make an impact, because I believe I'm that type of player.
Are you more comfortable at split end or flanker?
I can play anywhere. I'm definitely more comfortable being on the field. If it's split end, or if it's flanker, it really doesn't make a difference. Wherever they feel like they need me to produce.
Do you come from a big family?
I'm a single child. My mom has a big family, so I have a lot of cousins and second cousins who are like brothers and sisters to me.
Do you have any concerns about playing in cold weather?
No -- that's something I'm just going to have to adapt to. Once I get up there and adapt to the climate, I don't think it'll be a problem.
Have you had any surgeries?
The only thing I ever had was a 'scope. It was to clean up a little bone spur and shave the bone down a little bit. That was the only thing I've ever had in my life. It was on my shoulder.
You saved all of your baseball money, according to coach Sherman. How do you feel about money?
That's invested right now. That's doing some things for me. Money's not a big concern for me. Im not really materialistic. I think it's a great opportuinity for me to be where I want to be down the road as far as financial stability. I'm not worried about having what everybody else has. I'm more of a person that when there's time down the road to be able to sit down and relax, I'll be able to do it.
Will you be easy to sign?
No comment! (laughing) I know I'm willing to be in camp whenever camp starts. I'm there.
How big was your baseball bonus?
I don't usually talk about that. I'm sorry.