The annual NFL Combine begins Feb. 28 in Indianapolis. Before all the poking and prodding, before all weightlifting and 40-yard sprints, Breaking Burgundy will share the names of players worth tracking with the Washington Redskins in mind plus insight from sources and around the league.
Player: Charles Walker
Position: Defensive tackle
Projection: Walter Football (Round 2-3), CBS (Round 5-6)
Need: The Redskins might not have single Week 1 starter on the current roster. Depth is needed regardless.
Overview: Walker enters the Combine with something to prove after the redshirt junior's 2016 season ended early with a concussion. There are reasons to believe he'll do just that -- and that the Redskins specifically will be watching closely.
The 6-foot-2, 304-pounder left the program in mid-November to prepare for the NFL Draft. All of those factors put his draft projections all over the place. Based on 2015 work, when Walker was a second-team All-Big 12 selection after recording six sacks and 10 tackles for loss, there's love in the air as noted by WalterFootball.com's ranking ("He is a quick interior defender who can put pressure on the quarterback.").
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had Walker sixth among defensive tackles at the time the Sooner standout left the team. However, Kiper's current rankings don't include Walker among the top 10 defensive tackles in the 2017 draft. We should also note Walker, who can also play 3-4 end, missed the 2016 Orange Bowl with a concussion.
Two things I've heard about Walker in recent days: The latest concussion is no longer an issue and that the Redskins front office is a big fan of his explosiveness, speed and lower body agility. Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan had no issue using a Day 2 pick on Kendall Fuller last year even though the cornerback was coming off microfracture knee surgery.
Here are samples of those physical attributes. The first one is a video put out by Walker's agent.
If Walker shows this kind of physical prowess during the Combine, if the medical tests come back clean and if the responses to any questions about leaving Oklahoma before the season ended are cool with those asking, then we might be looking at one of the more buzzworthy players in Indianapolis.
Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy, host of the Locked on Redskins podcast and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig, Facebook and on Google+.