Walker Playing Big By Keeping Things Small

Tyrone Walker's consistent play in training camp was highlighted by his three third-down conversions against Arizona. His reward? He's apparently leapfrogged all the young receivers and has spent the last two days lining up with the No. 1 offense. "It's just another test," he said.

Edgar Bennett had seen all of his young wide receivers make plays during the first two weeks of training camp.

What the Green Bay Packers' receivers coach needed to see was someone make plays with consistency during a game.

"That's a big part of it," Bennett told Packer Report last week. "Any time you get an opportunity in these preseason games, you're going to get a chance to show what you're capable of doing. I think they've all put the time in from a preparation standpoint. We've been able to see some of what they're capable of doing. Now, they have to show it in a game situation."

Tyrone Walker showed it during Friday's game against Arizona. He caught five passes (out of six targets) for 41 yards, including an 8-yard catch on third-and-7, a 22-yard catch and run to move the chains on third-and-6 and a 7-yard gain on third-and-4.

His reward? He's apparently leapfrogged all the young receivers and has spent the last two days lining up with the No. 1 offense.

Tyrone Walker makes one of his five catches against Arizona.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
"That just means it's just another test, honestly, to see if I can handle it," the low-key Walker said. "I'm hoping I can keep taking it in stride and keep building on the progress I've made. It's not really a congratulations or anything like that. It's just another test. I'm going to keep building on what I've done, keep catching the ball, keep making the right assignments and calls."

Every year, an undrafted rookie comes out of nowhere to win a roster spot. Walker is well on his way to doing just that. The career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns at Illinois State, Walker had to earn his way onto the Packers' roster as a tryout player at the rookie camp.

Since then, he's taken advantage of the protracted absences of seventh-round picks Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey, a season-ending wrist injury to Sederrick Cunningham and a knee injury that will keep Jordy Nelson out for the rest of training camp.

What Walker has done is consistently produce. That point was driven home at Tuesday's practice. Jarrett Boykin has had a good training camp but dropped a low ball from Vince Young. Jeremy Ross dropped two passes. Justin Wilson dropped a couple of passes, too. Meanwhile, during a no-huddle period to close practice, Aaron Rodgers went to Walker to convert a fourth-and-2 against Sam Shields.

"Tyrone Walker, No. 83, I think has made the biggest jump," Rodgers told the "Sirius XM Blitz" program last week. "He passes the eye test because he's making a ton of plays in practice."

Walker is taking it all in stride. His big-time numbers came against small-school competition. At 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds, he's not big. With a 4.59 clocking at Northwestern's pro day, he's not fast. Still, he never doubted he belonged.

"Immediately," Walker said of when he realized the game wasn't too big or fast for him. "If you're good ... the vets noticed first and they kind of guide you and they groomed me. I'm just slowly building. It's just the foundation right now. Hopefully, I can build it up to something big."

Walker said he's not looking ahead. He dares not think of the finish line when it's so far away. After the game, rather than patting himself on the back for being the offense's top performer, the first thing he pointed to was his play on special teams, where he was flagged for an illegal block.

"At the end of the day, you've got to make it smaller –— as small as you can make it," he said. "I felt like I was at ISU with my Redbirds jersey on playing ball. I try to keep it 100 yards. I couldn't look up too often. That was my focal point."

With that mind-set, Walker has been the team's most consistent performer among the receivers angling for the two or three spots behind the Big Three of Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jordy Nelson.

"Yeah, I would say that's part of it," Walker said of his consistency. "That shows my competitiveness. I want to be the best at everything, whether we're in the meeting room, drawing plays on the board, watching film, breaking down film, reading coverage. That all transfers out on the field, which has helped me be consistent."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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