Walker's thrilled

Walker's thrilled

At least one former Tennessee Vol finished Friday's Pro Timing Day smiling ... smiling with relief and smiling with joy.

Chris Walker waited a long time to show NFL scouts he can make the transition from college defensive end to pro linebacker, and the wait had begun taking a toll.

"I'm glad it's over with because I felt like it was a long time coming," he said, flashing a relieved grin. "I'm excited that it's over with but I think I did well."

In fact, he did quite well. Packing 236 pounds on a 6-foot-1 and 7/10ths frame, his 4.72 and 4.73 clockings in the 40-yard dash edged out ex-Vol linebacker Nick Reveiz, who posted a pair of 4.74s.

"That's not what I wanted," Walker said of the 40 time, "but I think it's good enough. My goal was 4.6, somewhere in there, but I'm excited about it."

The Memphis native also posted a 9-6 broad jump, a 29.5-inch vertical jump and 17 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press.

"I feel like I did well," he said. "Everything that I can control, I think I did well."

The big question about Walker was never his athleticism but his ability to make the conversion to linebacker. He believes he answered that question to the satisfaction of the pro scouts on hand.

"I think I did. I think I came out and did linebacker drills well, showed I can drop and open my hips," he said. "I think that's what they wanted to see most. They knew I could do the D-end stuff, so they wanted to see the linebacker things, and I think I did well."

Several Tennessee defensive ends have made the switch to linebacker at the NFL level in recent years - Will Overstreet and Parys Haralson being two notable examples. Walker says NFL teams see him making the same transition.

"I'm hearing outside linebacker - either Sam 'backer in 4-3 or rush end in 3-4," he said. "That's what I've been getting myself ready for. That's kind of what I played here, so I'm getting myself ready for that transition."

Probably the biggest adjustment in going from end to linebacker is learning to drop into pass coverage. Walker believes he did exceptionally well in this area on Friday.

"With guys that are going to convert from D-end to linebacker, they want to see if you can open your hips, flip your hips and come downhill and all of that stuff," he said. "I think I did that well today.

"I did a little bit (of pass coverage) here, and I think I did well with it. They wanted to see how we opened up and how we came back to the ball, and I think I did well."

Ultimately, Walker was encouraged by his performance, beginning to end.

"I think I did well in every drill I had to do - the short shuttle and the others," he said. "I'm really excited about how I did on the linebacker drills. That's what they wanted to see most, and I feel like I did well."

Walker said he'll probably do individual workouts with several NFL teams in the weeks ahead, adding: "I'm going to stay around here, just in case they need me to come back and do some other stuff for them."

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