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Thursday open thread: How much will new Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker play in 2018?

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Will the rookie have a big role in 2018 or be given the Teez Tabor treatment?

Louisiana Lafayette v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

There’s little doubt that the most controversial pick the Detroit Lions made in the 2018 draft was their third-round selection of Louisiana-Lafayette safety Tracy Walker. Not only was Walker a huge unknown for most draft fans, but he was almost universally believed to be a reach at that point in the draft. Even Walker himself didn’t think he was going to be drafted until the fifth round—although there were reports that the Panthers, picking three spots later than the Lions, were going to take him in the third round, too.

Regardless, it was also a somewhat puzzling pick because the Lions are fairly set at safety for the 2018 season. Their 2017 starters, Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson, are both returning and have two more years left on their deals. There’s also Quandre Diggs, who emerged as a solid strong safety option late last season, and Miles Killebrew, one of Bob Quinn’s first draft picks who has been waiting to break out as the talent he was drafted for in the fourth round.

But the Lions were pretty psyched that they got Walker on draft day, so today’s Question of the Day is:

How much will Tracy Walker play in 2018?

My answer: I think he’ll essentially be given the Teez Tabor treatment.

Last year, the Lions drafted Tabor in the second round, despite not having a pressing need at cornerback—seeing as they added D.J. Hayden in free agency and were returning their top three corners from the previous season (Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs).

As a result, Tabor was basically a non-factor through the first nine games of the season, totally only 14 total snaps halfway through November.

That was how they Lions treated a second-round pick from a top SEC school. Walker is a third-round pick from a relatively unknown program in the Sun Belt Conference.

Walker has the physical traits and the motivation to potentially be a big contributor—and possibly a future full-time starter—in the NFL, and there’s a pretty good chance he’ll even see a significant amount of playing time in three-safety packages. However, he’s still an extremely raw prospect who was prone to making some pretty big mistakes in college. I’d be very surprised to see him get any meaningful defensive snaps before the Lions’ bye week. Instead, I think he’ll be a special teams guy to start his rookie year until injuries or just natural progression pushes him into subpackages by mid-November.

Your turn.

Poll

How much will Tracy Walker play in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Not at all
    (17 votes)
  • 25%
    Special teams only in 2018
    (226 votes)
  • 50%
    Will eventually play late in the season
    (442 votes)
  • 20%
    Immediate rotational safety in subpackages
    (177 votes)
  • 1%
    Immediate contender for starting job
    (14 votes)
876 votes total Vote Now