Central Michigan NT/DT Leterrius “L.T.” Walton
-- Walton, playing nose guard in a 3-4 and defensive tackle in a 4-3, started 32-of-39 games at Central Michigan, including every contest during his junior and senior seasons. He finished with 106 tackles (46 solos) that included six sacks and 18.5 stops for losses. All six of his additional quarterback pressures were recorded as a senior.
-- With his massive frame, you can picture the native of Clinton Township, Mich., trying to become the next Prince Fielder. Walton, who weighed 300 pounds as a high school senior, crushed the baseball to the tune .441 and .423 batting averages as a junior and senior with seven home runs in each of those seasons.
-- Walton redshirted in 2010, his first year at CMU, while transitioning from the offensive to defensive line. In 2011, he played in four games before being shut down due to a knee meniscus tear. In 2012, he started seven games at nose tackle, posting 32 tackles with 3.5 stops for losses. Sitting back and assessing his first season earning extensive playing time, Walton was the first to admit that the extra “baby fat” he was carrying had affected his performance. He would tire late in games and would be a nonfactor during crunch time. He changed his diet and dropped 20 pounds, which not only improved his agility and quickness but the knee woes also disappeared.
-- As a junior, Walton started every game at nose tackle and delivered 34 tackles, adding one sack from his career-high 9.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. His senior season did not match his junior campaign success behind the line of scrimmage, but constant double-team coverage on Walton freed up other Chippewas to make the plays. He had 33 tackles with just 3.5 stops for losses but, for the first time during his career, he was named all-Mid-American Conference first-team by the league’s coaches.
2012 Season: Sat out the Iowa, Northern Iowa and Toledo games with a knee sprain.
2011 Season: Missed the final eight games with a knee meniscus tear.
SCOUTING COMBINE6-foot-4 7/8, 319 pounds
5.25 in the 40-yard dash…1.78 10-yard dash…2.99 20-yard dash…4.78 20-yard shuttle…7.91 three-cone drill…27-inch vertical jump…8’-07” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times…32 1/4-inch arm length…10 1/4-inch hands…79 7/8-inch wingspan.
The three-sport prep star was recruited to play on the offensive line, but after working hard to decrease his overall bulk to alleviate knee issues, he put together two solid back-to-back campaigns to close out his career, as 67 of 106 tackles and 13 of 18.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage came during his junior and senior seasons.
Walton flashes a burst to finish and shows effectiveness stopping the running game as a three-tech defender, but he is also being eyed by teams that utilize the 3-4 base defensive alignment to play five-tech. He needs to improve his upper-body power, but has a strong anchor vs. the run and uses his hands well to cross over the offensive lineman’s face to make the play.
The nose guard generates leverage to stack at the point of attack. He has the quick, strong and active hands to split double teams and his long arms allow him to consistently push the pocket. “I’m a big guy, I’m very athletic, I want to get out and show them I’m able to move and play on their teams for a long time,’’ said Walton, whose dominance as an interior run-stuffer has teams confident that he can play in both odd and even fronts.
Walton flashes adequate timed speed, but can be sudden and create advantage which he can retain. He shows good explosion and consistently shocked blockers back with his strength. He is quick to penetrate the line of scrimmage and fires off the snap at a good pad level to get under the pads and ride the blocker into the pocket. He shows good hand extension to get separation and has the short area burst as a bull rusher to flush the quarterback out of the pocket. With his valid first step, he can be dominant at the line of scrimmage.
Even though he has natural strength, Walton could stand to tone up his upper body more. Still, he does a good job of stalling the double team with leverage and power. He can recover and create a pile or split the double team. He sets and generates a heavy anchor to hold the point. He is tough to move off the ball when he hunkers down. He has the ability to neutralize blockers in one-on-one battles and a very good anchor on plays directed right at him.
Walton is quick and strong with his hands. He discards blocks and doesn't stay occupied too long in trench battles. He is still a bit raw using his hands on the pass rush (needs better rip and swim moves), and is still a work in progress there, but improving. He gets good extension to put full force behind his punch and shows good shock ability attacking the blocker’s body on the bull rush.
Walton does not have the motor needed for long pursuit, but can flash a good burst working down the line. For a player of his size, he is agile on the lateral move but has just adequate speed. He shows good body control in his change of direction, but is best in the short area, as he is only average getting acceleration in his long pursuit (motor seems to tire). At the Xs, he seems to have that natural feel to slide and get under the blocking scheme.
Walton has the tools to deliver good force behind his tackles, but will get into a rhythm where he plays too high and the result is, he won’t finish. His upper body strength compensates a bit when he plays at a high pad level. In the trenches, he gets good production as a wrap-up tackler. He knows how to use his size to break down and engulf ball carriers when working in tight areas, but lacks the feet to make plays in space. He is an effective striker in closed quarters, where he will collide and wrap. He is adept in leveling the quarterback with his burst.
Walton has good balance and a strong anchor. He will struggle some to pick up his feet moving in trash (susceptible to the low blocks), but does a good job of staying on his feet vs. plays coming right at him. He is active with his hands to disengage. He generally plays with good leverage and pad level, showing the flexibility to hold ground at the point of attack. He just needs to keep his feet free on the move, as he has the tools to be a solid two-gap player.
Walton needs better production, but can penetrate the gaps with quickness and mash the pocket with his power. He gets a good push off the blocker and has the desire when he sees the lane. When he cannot locate the target, his motor still runs and he shows desire once he sees the passer. But, he is much more effective shooting the inside gaps as a bull rusher, as it is obvious that his timed speed won’t get the job done coming off the edge at the next level.
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