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NFL Draft Profile: RB Mark Walton

NFL Draft Profile: RB Mark Walton

Paul Austria
October 7th, 2018 was the last day we saw Mark Walton in a University of Miami uniform, and unfortunately, it wasn’t the prettiest situation. It was the most important game of the year for the Canes as they took on cross-state rival Florida State. With 5:35 left in the fourth quarter, Walton got the handoff and gained 7 yards, but after the play was blown, he held his right foot/ankle in agony. The next day, the school announced that he would undergo surgery on that ankle and that it indeed would be season-ending surgery. Walton decided to declare for the draft a month later and since then, Mark has been focused on rehabbing and recovering.

Born and raised in Miami, he attended Booker T Washington High in the heart of Overtown in downtown Miami and was one of the more highly recruited running backs. He was originally one of 3 running backs Miami was initially supposed to bring in from the class of 2015, but the other two backed out of their pledges and Walton was the only one that kept his word. It didn’t take too long for him to make a name for himself, as he led the team with ten total touchdowns in his freshman year. He then took it to the next level in his sophomore season, where he earned the starting job and earned third-team All ACC honors with 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns. Even up until the injury he suffered, it looked like Mark was absolutely going to surpass that total during his junior year. Walton played 3 seasons with UM altogether and finished his career with 1,995 yards and 26 touchdowns on 394 carries. Mark was known for his ability to basically do everything the coaching staff asked of him.

Official Measurables (according to NFL.com):

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 202 lbs.

Arms: 30”

Hands: 9 ¼”

40-yard dash: 4.6 seconds

Vertical jump: 31.5

Broad Jump: 118.0 inches


Strengths:

For the Canes, he was basically the swiss army knife of running backs. He was a reliable every down back who was willing to do everything you asked him to. He had great vision as a running back with excellent cutting ability. Once he finds room for that good bounce and cut to the outside, his acceleration to the corner is very, very special. Walton was never afraid to dip his shoulder and earn tough yardage and turn three-yard gains into seven and eight-yard gains. His lower body carries a lot of strength as well, and that helped him with extra yards as well as keeping himself up after the first initial hit. Walton was also fantastic at protecting the ball and according to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, he did not record a fumble over his last 274 carries. The wheel route was also his best friend at Miami, as he developed a knack for tracking the ball whenever the lob came, and overall he was a very dependable receiver coming out of the backfield. Blocking was also something that Mark took pride in, as he was excellent in chip blocking extra pass rushers and was far from a quitter in that aspect.


Weaknesses:

Right now, a lot of NFL scouts don’t see him as an every down back, just based on his running style. There were many times where he would receive the handoff, hide behind offensive linemen if he saw nothing in the initial read while waiting for holes to open up, and it showed a lot of indecisiveness whenever he decided to run inside. Durability is also somewhat of a small concern, only because there is no game footage of him post-ankle surgery. However, he did play in every game from 2015-2016.



Draft Prediction: 4th-round pick

Don’t get me wrong, I love Walton and I was disappointed when he declared. He was such a dependable back for Miami and he made Malik Rosier’s job a lot easier. However, declaring after such an injury is going to undoubtedly be a concern for NFL personnel. He has no game footage after the injury so we truly don’t know if he will be the same player in-game. All of his film pre-injury however, should clear most doubts. Measurables are good, and if rehab and recovery all went according to plan, he could be a nice steal for a team in the middle rounds, maybe 3rd round at the earliest if the love and belief is there.
 

Comments (7)

Kid will have to prove his worth on the field. The injury will cost him on draft day. I think he will find a home and make some cash. Has nice package of talents that right coach will put to work.
 
Personally I feel he should have came back and showed the draft guys he could still play football. His draft stock would have soared. But, I understand you run the risk of another injury doing that. Or a bad year etc. But I think it would have improved his draft status quite a bit.

Wish the best for him.
 
Walton has the intangibles, drive, and work ethic to succeed at the next level. He's not the kind of guy that I would sell short. I fully expect him to carve out a nice career in the NFL.
 
His receiving ability, pass protection and makeup will lead to a long career.

What’s really hurting him is the injury plus a deep RB class. In another year, he’s an easy Day 2 pick.
 
Any time you emphasize intangibles for a football player, that is a red flag.
 
mark's exuberance and ability in playing special teams gives him the best chance to land on a roster imo, and then eventually make his way onto the field as a RB
 

2022 Commits

QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA

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