While he didn't enter the draft early, Steelers sixth round pick Leterrius Walton is in many ways a very young player.
Walton was recruited as an offensive linemen but switched to defensive tackle upon arriving at Central Michigan in 2011. After taking some time adjusting to the new position, Walton thrived on the D-line and was a three-year starter for the Chippewas.
While he didn't compile mind-boggling numbers (106 tackles, six sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in his career), Walton's emergence on the defensive line drew praise from ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. Kiper praised Walton's development as a defensive tackle while saying he liked the Steelers decision to draft him with the 199th overall pick.
Echoing Kiper's sentiments, Walton's bio on NFL.com also praised his ability to penetrate an offensive line while disrupting the oppositions running game. Walton's quick hands is something that will help early on while he develops other facets of his game. Despite his size, Walton showed the ability to "cruise down the line chasing run plays."
Along with his youth at the defensive tackle position, Walton's weaknesses include questions regarding his pass-rushing consistency and his consistent ability to shed off blocks. Walton must also improve on his use of hands and overall arm extension at the next level.
A very positive sign is that Walton has already answered a question that was on his NFL.com draft bio. The bio stated that Walton, whose college playing weight was 300 pounds, needed to gain more mass in order to be more of an effective pro defensive tackle. Kiper noted that Walton has put on 20 pounds of muscle since his final college game, showcasing his desire to thrive at the NFL level.
BTSC Grade: B+