Central Florida wide receiver Mike Walker is an intriguing selection in the third round. His recovery from ACL surgery makes him one of the top upside prospects in this draft.
Walker blew out his ACL late in the 2005 season and underwent surgery in December of '05. Post-surgery complications delayed his comeback and he didn't begin running again until May of '06. Walker, however, turned what is widely considered to be a two-year recovery into a half-year rehab.
By midseason last year, Walker was back to full speed. A player whose draft stock had fallen sharply because of his knee injury needed only this past February's scouting combine to reclaim his reputation.
"I just went in there with a chip on my shoulder," Walker said of the scouting combine, where Walker opened eyes by running a 4.35 40. "I ran a 4.28 twice on the track (in training). I knew my knee was back," he added.
So, what the Jaguars drafted with the 79th overall pick is a tall, muscular, good-hands wide receiver who can run with the best of them. Last season, his comeback year, Walker caught 90 passes for 1,178 yards and seven touchdowns, despite being less than full speed for half the season.
"I was just trying to get in the NFL. It didn't matter what round," Walker said.
Asked what he hopes to accomplish as an NFL receiver, Walker added: "I see myself as a Pro-Bowler, rookie of the year, all of that."
He is the fifth wide receiver the Jaguars have drafted in the last four years.