Analysis: Brandon Walton has the tools to be a solid offensive lineman in the NFL

Our final draft analysis is Brandon Walton, a tackle who can play on both sides of the line.

FAU+offensive+lineman+Brandon+Walton+last+season+started+all+12+games+at+left+tackle%2C+which+earned+him+first+team+All-Conference+USA+honors.+Photo+by+Alex+Liscio.

FAU offensive lineman Brandon Walton last season started all 12 games at left tackle, which earned him first team All-Conference USA honors. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Joseph Acosta, Staff Writer

The 2020 NFL Draft is on April 23, and while players from around the country are preparing for the biggest weekend of their careers, many former Owls will have the opportunity to hear their names called. 

The University Press has already done analysis of Harrison Bryant, James Pierre, Junior Diaz, Rashad Smith, DeAngelo Antione and Tim Bonner. Our final Owl is offensive lineman Brandon Walton.

Walton, the redshirt senior from Largo, Florida, was a part of an offensive line unit that only allowed one sack in the 2019 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl win against SMU. Walton himself was named first team All-Conference USA as a left tackle this season, where he started all 12 games. 

After the season ended, Walton participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, a bowl game for top senior football players, coached by former NFL coaches and attended by NFL scouts.

Here are some pros and cons to Walton’s game, and a projection of where he best fits.

Pros

Walton is an experienced player, having played both right tackle and left tackle effectively for the Owls during his career. The 6’5, 300-pound senior showed good feet in pass and run blocking, and showed the ability to redirect and disrupt pass rushers at the point of attack. 

Walton has extremely long arms, and showed the ability to use his length to his advantage in pass blocking situations. Walton is a strong finisher in the run game, and showed good agility to get up to linebackers and defensive backs in the screen game. Walton is seen as a high character guy, and has started at multiple positions for the Owls.

Cons

As with Junior Diaz, the biggest con for Brandon Walton is going to be level of play. FAU’s strength of schedule was 77th in the country according to Team Rankings. When scouts take a look at Walton, the question will be is his play aided by the level of competition.

From a technical standpoint, Walton got overwhelmed by speed on the edge at times, and failed to reset his hands quick enough to counter when edge defenders swat his hands away. He’s a lot better against power rushers than speed, and finds himself susceptible to inside counters off of the speed rush.

Best fit

I believe Walton’s best fit would be a team that runs a very zone-oriented run game, and a quick, West-Coast style passing game with short option routes to receivers. A perfect example would be the Los Angeles Rams. 

The Rams are coming off of an 9-7 season filled with disappointment after their Super Bowl run in 2018. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth just re-signed for three more years, but he is 38 years old and may be on his last run before retirement. Rob Havenstein is on the other side at right tackle, but after posting a 50.9 Pro Football Focus Grade, he needs to improve. Walton can come in and provide depth at both tackle spots while developing under one of the top offensive minds in football, Rams head coach Sean McVay.

Joseph Acosta is a staff writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @acosta32_jp.