Walker Little - OT, Stanford
By the numbers:
6'7", 309 pounds.
Opted out of the 2020 season.
Stanford's Walker Little has plus range and athleticism. He moves fairly well and shuffles his feet quickly, in addition to possessing quality overall footwork. He's comfortable pulling in run support and adequately climbs into the second level in search of additional work. Little is a smart player capable of identifying stunts and blitzes at the line of scrimmage.
Little's size is also prototypical for a professional left tackle. Stanford's website lists him at 320, which is likely a more ideal playing weight for him. In college, he relied more on his hands than his core or lower body strength. Getting up to (or back up to) that 320-pound mark could make him more of an enforcer. Little maintains a decent pad level for such a tall player.
Despite having good college tape, the fact remains that Little has played just one game over the past two seasons. He suffered a significant knee injury in 2019 and didn't play at all in 2020. Concerns about his athleticism are likely overstated, although it's hard to tell if he can still move as well as he did a couple of years ago. He will need to be eased back into the motions of football and shouldn't start on day one.
Little's run blocking, while certainly passable, is still a work-in-progress. He's more of a lateral mover and has a good understanding of where to be on the field, but he lacks a mean streak. Perhaps improved strength will bring that element into his game. At this point, he projects as a better fit in a zone-run scheme rather than a power one.
How Little fits with the Chiefs:
The Chiefs decided to part ways with Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, so tackle is a major need for them this offseason. 2020 third-round pick Lucas Niang projects to be the team's starting right tackle this season, but fielding two tackles with zero NFL snaps is risky. Luckily for Little, backing up a veteran would probably be the best option for him in 2021 regardless. He's a good fit with what the Chiefs like to do on offense and could be a great depth piece in year one before potentially assuming a larger role later on.
Without the 2019 injury and opt-out of the 2020 campaign, there's a great chance Little would be a top-40 selection. He has the size, athleticism and smarts to become a starting-caliber left tackle. On the other hand, recent events cannot be ignored. He needs to sit for a while, get back into the swing of things and possibly add five-to-10 pounds of muscle in order to make good on his draft value. With that said, the potential long-term payoff with Little is tremendous. He grades out as a third-round pick.