If we all remember, I penned earlier this year that I thought right tackle Foster Sarell was the better college football player entering the 2020 Stanford Cardinal football season. I am not as high on left tackle Walker Little as some other college football pundits, but that’s not to say I don’t think he’s a great player himself.
Though met with some criticism, it appears that I am not alone in thinking that Little may not be the best lineman on his own team. I, however, never once said he wasn’t a solid offensive line prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Written by Pro Football Network’s Neal Driscoll, Little is considered ‘overrated’ by Driscoll and not worthy of the first-round hype he’s received so far towards the 2021 NFL Draft.
Consistently mentioned when talking about the top half of next April’s draft, Little is near everywhere when it comes to mock drafts for 2021. From a top-10 selection to at the very least top 15 picks, Little seemingly doesn’t not find his name across every company’s mock draft.
Yet, PFN’s Driscoll writes that he doesn’t see a first-round prospect, not just a top-half player.
When looking at early 2021 NFL mock drafts, one name I am consistently seeing as a projected top-15 selection is Stanford’s offensive tackle Walker Little. Little’s 2019 campaign ended abruptly after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. While there is much to like surrounding Little’s game including his experience, the tape doesn’t show a first-round prospect.
The knee injury that sidelined him for basically all of 2019, sure. I can see that as a reason why some would be nervous about Little returning to form in 2020, but Driscoll doubles down further on.
Little has good size, functional strength, and plays with good leverage, yet he is a complete liability in pass protection. He doesn’t use his hands well, gets completely overwhelmed by gifted speed rushers, and plays with sloppy footwork. He doesn’t set his anchor well by any means and his overall athleticism is lacking. It doesn’t help that he is coming off a serious knee injury, but if Little wants to solidify his first-round status, he must prove to be healthy and needs drastic improvement in his game.
Calling him a liability in pass protection is something new. A lot of other publications certainly seem to think that he is solid in the passing game. To get a fair inference as to what Little brings to the table in pass pro, you need to go back and watch the 2018 tape.
Specifically the Notre Dame game, I guess. He was extremely suspect in that contest and gave up two pretty bad sacks. If that’s the only game that Driscoll watched, then absolutely he’s a liability in pass protection.
However, according to the numbers at PFF, that was the last game that Little has allowed a sack in and he’s only allowed three pressures since that Notre Dame game. Still, being labeled as a liability in pass protection is written and we’ll perhaps agree to disagree here with Driscoll.
He is coming into the season with much to prove. When you see Little on tape, he does not demonstrate the necessary traits to be a top offensive tackle prospect. In fact, Little’s NFL future might involve being kicked inside to guard. When it comes to the 2021 Draft prospect, Little falls under the overrated category.
A shift inside is also something relatively new for Little’s projection forward. Not sure if I see a 6’7, 309-pounder moving inside, but alas here we are.
Although I wrote that Sarell is the better player entering 2020, clearly not once was there a mention to Little bring overrated for the NFL, so I’d have to categorically disagree with PFN’s take here on Little.
Is Walker Little being overrated?