By: Barry Barnes, Founder
The journey for Tray Walker to get to the NFL started in his youth. Enduring the death of a love one, and through trials and tribulations, Walker weathered the storm. After surfing the clouds of doubt, Walker is a part of the championship contending Baltimore Ravens; a team that really wanted him.
“He’s a guy that we had targeted. We really hoped to get him in the draft,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “He’s a guy that we wanted to get in the mid-rounds. We were looking to try to draft him, and we were able to do it. We had heard that … We know for a fact that he would have been gone with our next pick in the fifth round.
“He was going to be taken early in the fifth round, so we got him right in the right spot – great kudos to Eric (DeCosta) and Ozzie (Newsome) for getting that done – and we’re pleased to have him. He looks very good out here.”
Walker was speechless when his name was called during the 2015 NFL Draft as the standout from Texas Southern was the 136th-overall selection.
“I was excited, but I was at a loss for words,” said Walker. I had nothing really to say, but thanks. I was blessed to be in that predicament. I couldn’t say nothing, it was no words.”
Walker is a pure athlete, and in today’s NFL, big, playmaking corners are in demand. Standing 6-2, 191-poundss, the Florida native possesses a combination of size, speed, and hands to give the Ravens what they need to sure their secondary to return as one of tops in the league.
The Ravens finished in the top ten among all the major categories defensively last season, except for passing yards allowed where they ranked 23rd (248.7). Alongside veteran cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb and safeties Will Hill and Matt Elam, Walker could provide solid support to defend the pass.
Comparably to countless athletes, Walker has a major chip on his shoulder. He played at Northwestern High School in Miami with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Oakland Raider rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper as both players were first round draft picks.
Instead of attending a major program, Walker played his collegiate ball at Texas Southern of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), where media coverage is limited. As doubt started settling in, family and friends intervene and informed Walker about the NFL Regional Combine.
And the rest was history.
Walker attended the Miami-held workouts and impressed the NFL National Scouts enough to get invited to the NFL Super Regional Combine in late March. Several teams welcomed the soft-spoken Walker to private workouts.
Clearly, the Ravens wanted Walker more as they invested their fourth round selection in him. As a fourth round pick, Walker is a pioneer for he is the highest selected draft pick from the NFL Regional Combine platform.
Walker is not alone on the Ravens as a member of the NFL Regional Combine aggregates as he accompanies Hill and defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi.
Walker is grateful for the RC and believes if it wasn’t for the platform, he wouldn’t be in the league.
“Definitely, if it wasn’t for the regional combine, I wouldn’t be here, let alone drafted,” said Walker, humbly. “I wouldn’t be a fourth round pick if I didn’t do that. I probably wouldn’t be recognized and I would had to go the free agent route. Other than that, I was blessed to have people in my corner to tell me about it (NFL Regional Combine) and speak upon it…giving me advice to say go and do it, and that’s what I did.”
Since there’s a sense of assurance for Walker, he’s starting to settle in as a professional and is learning from one of the league’s best teams.
“It’s been nothing but love, competitive everyday,” said Walker. “We go at each other everyday, man. Trying to make each other better. Getting to know each other inside and outside the lockerroom. Basically, just on the mental part of the game, staying focus and smart.
“Besides my technique in jamming, they (coaching staff) want me to move my feet and slide,” he added. “It’s all mental more than physical and my ability to adapt. Everything is going well.”
And Harbaugh agrees,“Tray has done well. (We’re) really excited about Tray,”
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