As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2020 offseason. We’ll focus this on the future players who spent no or limited time on the team during 2019. Taken a bit of a break but following up with a new futures report today.
Cavon Walker/DT Maryland – 6’2/1 284
Walker has the biggest resume of the five XFL’ers signed so far. In five weeks of the upstart league before the coronavirus put the world on hold, Walker led the XFL with 4.5 sacks.
Which, in all honesty, is really surprising. In four years at Maryland, he had a grand total of 4.5 career sacks, including just one as a senior.
His college career, only seeing noteworthy time his junior and senior seasons, was middling. 90 tackles, 14.5 of which went for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. Staying local as a Washington D.C. native, he came to school as a 215 pound linebacker, bulked up, and moved full-time to the defensive line. A foot injury his sophomore year allowed him to redshirt and he made three spot starts as a junior before becoming full-time as a senior in 2017.
At his 2018 Pro Day, he ran an acceptable 4.97 to go along with 31 reps on the bench press and a 30 inch vertical. Predictably, he went undrafted and signed with the Chicago Bears after the 2018 draft. In the preseason finale, he notched this sack, accompanied by a pretty smooth sack dance.
He was cut at the end of the preseason, picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs after the season on a futures deal and promptly again waived before the 2019 season began.
The XFL’s New York Guardians drafted him in the 8th round of the “Phase 3” draft, the front seven portion of the draft. And as we wrote, wound up racking up 4.5 sacks with them before the league was forced to pause its season and allowed its players to seek an NFL opportunity.
— Steelers Depot 🏆👑 (@Steelersdepot) March 25, 2020
So he’ll head into his third training camp with his third NFL team. That can be a lonely feeling. In Pittsburgh, at least, he’ll have a friend in OT Derwin Gray. The two grew up together, attended Friendship Collegiate Academy and of course, chose Maryland. An excerpt from a profile on Walker via The Baltimore Sun when he committed.
“Thanks in large part to the play of Walker and fellow Terps commitments Derwin Gray and Jermaine Carter, Friendship Collegiate won the first-ever D.C. Statewide Athletic Association football championship.
“You could say that we stuck together,” Walker said of his current and future teammates.
Even though Walker, Gray and Carter are close, Walker said he would’ve committed to Maryland no matter what his teammates decided to do.”
Like most of these XFL’ers, his odds are long, but there’s a current vacancy with defensive tackle depth following Javon Hargrave cashing in with Philadelphia. At the least, Walker seems to be in the prime of his career and has a big personality that’ll endear himself to teammates and fans.