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Ravens Select Wide Receiver Devontez Walker in Round 4


The Ravens grabbed their rookie wide receiver and a big-time deep threat on Day 3, selecting Devontez "Tez" Walker out of North Carolina at pick No. 113.

Walker is a long (6-foot-1 ½) wide receiver with big-time speed who can help Lamar Jackson and the Ravens take the top off defenses. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds, which was the fourth-fastest time of any wide receiver at the Combine.

Walker is one of the most athletic wide receivers the Ravens have ever drafted, and he reminds General Manager Eric DeCosta of one of the team's best all-time picks at wideout.

'With 'Tez,' you get really a vertical receiver, size and speed," DeCosta said. "In some ways, [he] reminds me of a Torrey Smith-type of player – an outside, take-the-top-off, vertical threat with good size, and phenomenal kid, excellent jumping ability."

Walker posted 41 catches for 699 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season. He did it in just eight games (six starts).

Walker has gone through his fair share of turbulence to get to the NFL, which seemed to come pouring out when he got the draft call from DeCosta.

He tore his ACL while training just a few months before his college career was set to begin. He requested his release from his letter of intent from East Tennessee State and stayed home to rehab his knee (he got a job at Bojangles to pay for his training). He entered the following recruiting class and got an offer from North Carolina Central, but they canceled their 2020 season because of COVID.

Walker was on the move again, this time transferring to Kent State, where he saw sparse playing time his first year and caught just five passes. He broke out in 2022, making 58 catches for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns. When his head coach left, he re-entered the transfer portal and picked North Carolina because it was close to his ailing grandmother.

However, the NCAA denied surprisingly denied his transfer request, which led to his having to sit out (he still was part of the scout team). After several appeals and backlash (including from the governor of North Carolina), Walker reportedly made plans to sue the NCAA. The NCAA reversed its decision on Oct. 5 and deemed Walker eligible for the remaining eight games of the 2023 season.

After being drafted, Walker said he's happy that's all in the past and that he's just happy he got back on the field to show his talents at a high level.

"The thing that I really like most about him is that he's encountered some athletic adversity in his life, and he's overcome," Ravens Director of College Scouting David Blackburn said. "He's a really mentally tough kid, as well as physically tough. He works at his craft, and he's a great teammate. So, outside of those physical traits that he has, he has a lot of intangibles as well."

Even with all the distractions, Walker was still a big-time playmaker for the Tar Heels and quarterback Drake Maye when he took the field. Walker had the only 20-plus-yard catch allowed by Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins, the Ravens' first-round pick, last season.

When Wiggins was speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine, he brought up Walker's name unprompted.

"I didn't guard no body with (Walker's) speed all year, so when I guarded him, he could match my speed, so I had to change my game up," Wiggins said.

Walker said Wiggins was probably the best player he's every gone against.

"He's very fluid in his technique, very fast. He's one of the few guys that was hip to hip with me," Walker said. "I'm glad to be able to compete against him every day. Going against him, it was a fun game."

Correcting drops is something he'll have to work on, as he had 12 over the past two seasons. Walker will also look to showcase a more expansive route tree in the NFL, as North Carolina primarily used him on linear routes.

Bleacher Report’s scouting department compared Walker's game to former Ravens/Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. One part of the passing game the Ravens want to improve moving forward is connecting on deep shots more often. Walker's arrival, as well as his ability to play in multiple spots, should help Jackson and the offense cross that off. Walker said he's been watching Jackson since he was in high school.

"He's somebody I wished I was on his team and now that wish is coming true," Walker said. "He's a great player. I love watching him. I'm looking forward to being aside him."

Check out the best photos of Ravens fourth round pick WR Devontez Walker.

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