5 receivers the Patriots could have drafted instead of Ja'Lynn Polk

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Devontez Walker 

Seeing Devontez Walker fall to the fourth round was very odd on draft night. His catches in college are a huge part of the reason Drake Maye was drafted with the third overall pick. The Ravens have a playmaker who will provide Zay Flowers some space to operate in (and Flowers doesn’t need much space).

Walker was projected to be taken in the second or third round, so as usual the Ravens have blown the other AFC teams out of the water come draft time. 

Walker spent two years at Kent State before transferring to North Carolina. Tez, as his friends call him, only played 28 games during his college career, which may have concerned some teams. Still, ability is more important than consistency regarding receivers, and Walker isn't left wanting when it comes to ability.  

The former West Charlotte High School student caught 104 passes in three years at UNC and racked up 1,744 receiving yards, averaging 16.8 yards per catch. He also caught 19 touchdown passes, and when he carried the ball, he averaged 8.7 yards per carry, even scoring a rushing touchdown!

Oh yeah, and Walker is 6 feet 3 inches tall, so he’ll add some much-needed size to the Ravens receiving corps. 

The UNC product was the fourth-fastest receiver at the combine! His vertical jump was in the 95th percentile, and his broad jump was in the 99th! Walker’s RAS (relative athletic score) illustrates what an exceptional athlete he is. The 22-year-old scored 9.76 out of a potential 10, and that’s the 83rd-highest score of the 3,402 receivers who have qualified to be tested between 1987 and 2024! 

Walker did struggle with the shuttle run at the combine, though. With a time of 4.30 seconds, he only made the 33rd percentile. Walker’s other two issues were his weight—at 193 pounds, he was in the 29th percentile (but the Ravens have a strength and conditioning team who can do something about that)—and his hand size.

The 2022 first-team All-MAC receiver has relatively small hands for a big guy. At 9 and one-eighth of an inch, he is only in the 37th percentile of the class. But he didn’t have significant fumble issues in college, and he had no trouble going up to compete with defenders for catches. 

His tape shows exactly what you’d expect from a speedy receiver who played with a quarterback who can throw the ball an absolute mile. Walker didn’t run various routes, but he beat defenders at will. Walker does tend to look into the backfield while he waits for the ball to arrive, though, and NFL defenders will love that.

However, if he has to work harder to achieve some separation, he won't have time to ball-watch. Walker did have to adjust to catch some rather inaccurate passes, though. That won't be an issue with Lamar Jackson throwing to him (or even Devin Leary in the preseason).