Niners No. 6a pick: Delanie Walker

Player profile and analysis for wide receiver Delanie Walker, selected by the 49ers on Sunday with the No. 175 overall pick in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

Full name: Delanie Walker
School: Central Missouri State
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 230 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds

Biography: A Little All-American Dream Team selection by the NFL Draft Report after a senior season in which he had a school-record 65 receptions for 724 yards and six touchdowns. He also gained 57 yards on 16 rushing attempts, returned three punts for 41 yards and had 435 yards and one touchdown on 17 kickoff returns. Attended Mt. San Antonio Community College from 2002-2003, catching 86 passes for 1,312 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 20 games at Central Missouri, Walker tied for eighth on the school's list of all-time leading receivers with 113 receptions. His 1,347 receiving yards rank 11th in school history and his 2,578 all-purpose yards rank ninth. Had three kickoff returns for touchdowns in his two seasons at CMSU, where he was a video production major with a minor in criminal justice.

Positives: Walker is a big, wide-bodied receiver with natural athleticism and quality NFL size who does not hide from punishment over the middle and, in fact, likes to deliver some of that himself while playing with a mean, relentless attitude. Rarely gets jammed or pushed around because of his size and displays body control and power as a runner. Once he catches the ball, Walker accelerates to full speed fast and has the playing speed to score long touchdowns. Has the quick feet and agility to stop and start quickly to make tacklers miss, and has the balance to keep his feet against hard hits and gains yards after contact. Has flashed the ability to reach away from the body to make the tough catch at times. Makes defenders miss after the catch and is a good kickoff returner whose acceleration, playing speed, strength and balance make him dangerous when running with the ball.

Negatives: Needs to develop better skills catching the ball away from his body. Displays lapses in concentration and, despite natural athleticism, is not a natural pass catcher and drops too many balls. Tends to try and body-catch the ball, but too often lets the ball into his body and ends up fighting it. While he has good acceleration, Walker does not explode off the ball into his routes. He lacks burst out of his cuts and defenders can read his routes. Resultingly, he struggles to find holes in zones and secondary coverages.

Analysis: Despite his imposing physical tools, Walker is a raw prospect who needs work on his hands and route-running skills. Walker clearly a good athlete and has significant upside to become a contributing receiver, and perhaps even a possession-type starter. He must improve his hands and pass-catching skills to succeed at the NFL level, but he can contribute immediately on special teams while he develops.

Niners Digest Top Stories