Walker Little may be the most interesting offensive lineman in the entire 2021 NFL Draft class. Having not taken an in-game snap since late August of 2019, there are some fair concerns about the Stanford man. However, in the games that he played in, Little played every bit like a top-class NFL offensive lineman prospect. In his tenure with Stanford, won Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year honors, along with First-team All-Pac-12 the year later. There is no denying his talent, but with an exceptional tackle class, Little has easily been lost in the shuffle.
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Name: Walker Little
Position: Offensive Tackle
Weight: 313 lbs
Pass Blocking (8/10)
Little, as you could imagine giving his size and presence, is rather good as a pass protector. However, something that popped up was pass rushers getting by him with speed on the outside with regularity. NFL pass rushers will not be any easier to defend in that regard so that is a concern. However, from his film against inside moves from pass rushers, Little was a brick wall more often than not.
Run Blocking (9.5/10)
“Menace” would be a good description of how Little plays in the run game. He uses every bit of his 300 plus pound frame to bulldoze defenders around. Little on occasion would even be a pull guy in the run game and showed success in doing so. Also, Little was a key contributor in Bryce Love‘s Heisman run in 2018 in the nine games he played, in which the latter rushed for over 2,000 yards.
For a man of his size, Little is pretty solid in the athleticism department. He showed nice quickness in moving sideline to sideline to maintain blocks, as well as nice overall short burst speed. At his pro day, Little ended up with an unofficial 7.43-second three-cone drill, as well as a 9.3-inch broad jump. Both were slightly better than Penei Sewell.
Very rarely, if at all, was Little on the ground at Stanford, but there were some things that showed up that could be trouble spots. His knees at times looked stiff in pass protection, and Little lacks some overall core strength. These are things that NFL-level pass rushers will look to take advantage of. But with his size and ability, Little should be fine if he improves in these areas.
For a quick example, Little ended up with 26 reps on the bench press at his pro day last month. For a comparison, Sewell ended up with 30 reps at Oregon’s Pro Day. Like in the athleticism department, this translated on the field as well.
Little does a good job of jolting defenders at the point of attack and is good at latching to his man for the lack of a better term. Little did seem to get away with some holds that will likely be called in the NFL. However, that should not be a big issue with proper coaching.
Little could end up playing at either bookend on the offensive line. However, given his size, a kick inside would not be the best use of his skillset.
Football IQ (9/10)
It should come as no surprise seeing as he went to Stanford, but Little is a smart player. He showed a good level of recognition vs stunts and when his man was dropping into coverage on tape.
Little in some 2018 games had some trouble against bigger pass rushers. Specifically, this showed up against Oregon, as well as USC, and occasionally versus Notre Dame. Outside of those three sample sizes, Little was relatively good showing off his raw power.
Competitive Toughness (3.75/5)
Not a whistle-to-whistle mauler per se, but Little has a good enough compete level for an NFL-level tackle.
Little ended up suffering a torn ACL at the very end of Stanford’s season opener against Northwestern in 2019. Despite opting out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns, the expectation was he would have played.
Little’s ACL injury, on top of his lack of game time after it could have teams concerned. However, given that teams interested have likely had the chance to see his medicals, those worries should subside. There is no reason that Little should fall beyond round two. Guys at his size combined with his elite run blocking ability do not just grow on trees.
Final Grade (83/100): Mid Second Round