Is Kenneth Walker III a Top 3 running back in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Kenneth Walker attended Arlington High School in Tennessee. Here he rushed for 3,485 yards and 41 touchdowns. After he finished college, Kenneth Walker committed to Wake Forest University for his college career.
After committing to Wake Forest University, Kenneth Walker played for the Demon Deacons for two seasons, in 2019 and 2020. He rushed for 1,158 yards on 217 rushes to go with 17 touchdowns. He only caught 6 passes for 47 yards in those two seasons.
After the 2020 season, Kenneth Walker decided to transfer from Wake Forest to Michigan State University, where he became the starter right away. In the 2021 season, Walker rushed the ball 263 times, totaling 1,636 rushing yards and 18 rushing scores. He added 13 catches for 89 yards and a single receiving touchdown.
Due to his very strong junior season, Kenneth Walker was awarded the Doak Walker Award as the top college running back in the nation. He also received the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
When it comes to the running back position, Kenneth Walker has a ton of the skills you are looking for in your ground and pound rusher.
Kenneth Walker is your prototypical rusher. He has good speed to the edge and on breakaway runs, he has great vision, runs tough, but is also elusive and can make the first man miss regularly, and he is going to get you extra yards after contact. On top of that, he is a willing and decent blocker in the pass protection.
This makes Walker possibly the best pure rusher in this running back draft class, something that was also on display almost weekly in his junior season at Michigan State. Winning the Doak Walker and Walter Camp awards also speaks to Walker’s skill set for the running back position.
The one area of expertise where you can knock on Kenneth Walker is in the receiving game. Walker only had 19 catches in 3 years of college football. This means he was basically never utilized in that area of the game, which leaves a huge question mark as to his ability as a pass-catcher. His hands aren’t terrible, but we just do not know he can perform in the receiving game at the NFL level. Sometimes, Walker does display issues navigating through traffic to get out into his route on pass plays.
Kenneth Walker reminds the analysts a lot about Nick Chubb. Someone who similarly doesn’t get much work in the receiving game, despite being a great player with the ball in his hands. Walker also has Chubb-like vibes in the running department, which also means Kenneth Walker could very easily step into a larger role in a rushing attack even as a rookie running back.
When it comes to draft stock in the 2022 NFL Draft, Walker is likely to be one of the first three running backs selected, likely in the second or third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. It is definitely a possibility that Kenneth Walker is the first RB to hear his name be called in the draft.
If Walker gets drafted by a team that could be in the market for a rookie running back as their workhorse on early downs, such as the Bills, Texans, Falcons or another team with a similar running back situation, Walker could end up overtaking some of the other rookie running backs and be the rookie RB1 come rookie draft season in fantasy football.
Thank you for reading this breakdown of Kenneth Walker III. Where do you have him ranked among rookie running backs in the 2022 NFL draft?
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