In an interview with ESPN, Herschel Walker said:
“I can play in the NFL today … I couldn’t take every snap. But running backs nowadays don’t play every down. Now they send in the choir section … physically, I could do it.”
Now, he does not have any plans to join an NFL squad, but the thought of it is ponderous. Where would he go? How would he fare in the modern NFL? How would his age affect his production/sustainability?
Walker was a Swiss army knife during his playing days with the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles; picking up over 8000 yards rushing and near 5000 receiving yards that garnered him two Pro Bowl trips. At age 49, he also proved his physical ability by winning both of his MMA matchups as well as being a fifth degree black belt in taekwondo.
That being said, where would he fit? Comparing his playing style and capabilities to similar current NFL players, he matches up well to Maurice Jones-Drew. Now that Jones-Drew has left the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Oakland Raiders, signing Walker as a Jaguar would make some sense.
But he did say that he wouldn’t be an every-down back. So as a situational back, I’d see him as a good fit for numerous teams. Returning to the Cowboys would be one option that would see him providing some more pass-catching ability. But I see his receiving skills and limited playing time suitable for the New Orleans Saints, seeing as Darren Sproles left this offseason.
Walker provide some of the pass catching and kick return ability that Sproles was known for, as well as participate in the “choir section” that the Saints implement for their running game with their backfield.
I’d project Walker to take in about 50 carries for 200 yards, but specialize in backfield receiving, adding another 50 receptions at 400 yards with two TDs to boot. This would put him in the range of 72 points in the season, and wouldn’t be someone I would put on my fantasy roster (giving negative value). However, he would surely be on many fantasy rosters that would dig the novelty if he were to sign with a team.
Now, this is not to say that Walker would be effective in the NFL at his age, just that it appears he still has the ability to at least play. If he were given the chance, he could be semi-productive. But who knows, maybe he would take the league by storm.
So, what do you think? Would you draft Walker if he returned to the NFL?