CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 07: Devontez Walker #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels smiles after a football game against the Syracuse Orange at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Oct 7, 2023. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 07: Devontez Walker #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels smiles after a football game against the Syracuse Orange at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Oct 7, 2023. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

North Carolina Wide Receiver Devontez Walker: Unreliable

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CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 07: Devontez Walker #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels makes a catch against Jayden Bellamy #23 of the Syracuse Orange during the second half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 07, 2023 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 40-7. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

After the NCAA finally reversed their decision on his eligibility to play in the 2023 season, University of North Carolina wide receiver Devontez Walker showcased his deep-threat potential. He also gave his quarterback, Drake Maye, a solid QBR of 114.4 when targeted.

I had the opportunity to evaluate every snap of the Senior Bowl and there is one significant issue with his game: his hands (10+ Drops in 4 days).

Walker was rated a 3-star recruit by 247 Sports as a prospect and a 4-star recruit as a transfer with the plan of attending East Tennessee State but had to sit out a season after a torn ACL. After the pandemic and by the fall of 2021, Walker enrolled at Kent State which eventually led to his transfer to North Carolina.

2023 Review:

With his eligibility being approved, he appeared in 8 games, racking in 41 catches for 699 yards for an average of 17.0 yards per catch, with 7 touchdowns. The receiver demonstrated his ability to stretch the field vertically.

Overview: Devontez Walker

6-Foot-1, 197 Pounds

40 Time: 4.41 (nfldraftbuzz.com)

2023 Stats: 41 rec – 699 yards (17avg) 7 TDs

Level of Competition: Medium

Colton Edwards Grade: Fifth-Round

Senior Bowl week evaluations (including Walker):

Day 1 Senior Bowl Standouts & Under-Performers

Day 2 Senior Bowl Standouts & Under-Performers

2024 Senior Bowl Summary: Stock Risers & Droppers

2023 Film Evaluated: Clemson, Duke, and Miami

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Tall and lengthy frame with long arms, giving him a sizeable catch radius. Natural athleticism with elite vertical speed that can attack in the deep third. A true stack specialist with the awareness in the zone to exploit tight windows. Has solid zone IQ while being patient throughout his routes. Has a good skillset in tracking the ball over his shoulder, demonstrating how to adjust to a variety of throws. Potential YAC (yards after catch) threat with the ability to dominate in any vertical concept. Underrated blocking ability on the outside to running situations.

Weaknesses: Struggles with hand-eye coordination which tends to result in drop issues. Limited route tree with the need to improve his short-area quickness. Lack of release package and inconsistent burst due to hesitation. He’s not able to create consistent separation at all points of a route. Not your average jump ball threat while often struggling to hang onto catches through contact. When his vertical ability has been shut down, his usage and explosiveness are nowhere to be seen in the short to intermediate.

Summary:

Walker needs to refine his repertoire of releases, creating consistency throughout all levels of his routes. He develops better route-running skills and uses his explosiveness at all levels of the field. He must develop that sink and bend at the stem while bursting out of the break to create separation. With his speed, length, and athleticism, he can be a dangerous field-stretching Z (receiver). He can scheme in multiple route combinations and concepts including mesh concepts, intermediate crossers, drags, posts, and go-balls. Development is key as he needs to become more balanced and well-rounded as a receiver. His big-play potential will be on several scout’s radars.

Who will he remind us of?

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton


Colton just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Science at the United States Sports Academy. He has previous coaching experience as a former offense and defensive line coach at a local high school. While performing those duties, he also worked at PFF(Pro Football Focus) for a brief moment of time. He currently develops scouting reports here at firstroundmock.com. He aspires to become an NFL Scout/GM in the future.

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