Lions draft safety Tracy Walker in third round

Darius Slay is his cousin

ALLEN PARK — After using first two picks for offensive help, the Lions drafted safety Tracy Walker out of Louisiana-Lafayette with the 82nd overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday night.

Walker, who is 6-2 and 200 pounds, went to the same high school as Lions cornerback Darius Slay in Brunswick, Ga.  In fact, Walker confirmed that they are cousins. Lions GM Bob Quinn said he wasn’t sure about their exact familial relationship, but knew somehow the two were related.

Even though Walker was projected as a late-round pick by most pundits (Bleacher Report had him as seventh-round pick), Quinn said they were happy to get him. Quinn said teams 10-12 picks ahead of them had brought Walker in for visits.

In fact, Walker said he was surprised during a conference call with reporters late on Friday night.

“it definitely was a surprise for me. I didn’t expect it. I put out my best effort throughout the whole process and I control what I can control. I can’t control who picked me and who showed the most interest in me, when Detroit picked me it was a blessing for me,” Walker said. “I’m definitely honored that they picked me. They won’t regret it.”

Going in the third round was a pleasant surprise for Walker.

“Honestly I expected it to be the fifth round, I’m definitely blessed. I’m the type of person who’s very conservative and expects the worst. I’m blessed to be drafted in the third round,” Walker said.

Quinn also said Walker excelled when he played against the top competition. Specifically he said Walked played well against Texas A&M.

Why not a defensive lineman in the third round? Quinn said they had safeties rated higher that defensive linemen at that point in the draft so they went with Walker.

NFL.com’s draft profile for Walker: “Safety with long, slender build who has good linear speed, but could struggle as an open field tackler and when isolated in deep coverage. Walker’s long arms and explosion numbers in testing will be very intriguing to teams who covet measurables and traits from their defensive backs. His size and body type could put him in line for a test run as bump-and-run corner for teams with a rangy free safety over the top.

Walker led the Ragin’ Cajuns with tackles (97) and interceptions (2) as a senior.

(Photo courtesy of Louisiana-Lafayette)

More from NFL.com: “He has stood out since he was young, partially because he was the only boy among six siblings. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, he earned Freshman All-Sun Belt honors after starting eight-of-13 games played, making 44 tackles, intercepting two passes, and breaking up three other throws. He was a starter as a sophomore (10-of-12 games), as well, compiling 74 stops, five for loss, one interception, and six pass breakups. Walker led the Ragin’ Cajuns with three interceptions in 2016, starting 12-of-13 games played, piling up 61 tackles, 2.5 for loss. His senior season was his best, starting 12 games and leading the squad with 97 tackles (3.5 for loss) on his way to third-team All-Sun Belt honors. Walker also led the team with two interceptions and broke up six passes.”

The Lions drafted offensive lineman Frank Ragnow in the first round on Thursday. Then traded up to take running back Kerryon Johnson in the second round earlier on Friday. They have picks in the fifth and seventh rounds on Saturday.

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Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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