Bucs fans clamored for more help opposite Mike Evans at wide receiver all season, so the team went out and got one of his former collegiate teammates.
Derel Walker comes to the Bucs via the Canadian Football League, where he spent the past two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos. Prior to his stint north of the border, Walker was with Evans catching passes in College Station from quarterback Johnny Manziel. In 2013, their final years in college, Evans led Texas A&M with 1,394 receiving yards and Walker was next in line with 818.
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
But while the 6-foot-5, 231-pound Evans came to Tampa Bay as the seventh overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, Walker (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) went undrafted and did not play that season. The decision to join the CFL may now be paying off, though. Walker was a West Division All-Star and CFL All-Star the past two years. In 2015, he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie by catching 89 passes for 1,110 yards and six touchdowns and helping lead Edmonton to a Grey Cup championship.
The Bucs began the season thin at the receiver position and injuries to Vincent Jackson and others allowed opposing defenses to increase their focus on containing Evans.
The addition of Walker, signed to a futures contract this week, will most certainly not be the last move the team makes to address their wide receiver situation. The Bucs own seven draft picks currently, including the 19th overall pick. According to an early mock draft by PewterReport.com Publisher Scott Reynolds, he’s projecting two of those seven to be wideouts. Click here to see that latest mock draft.
Also signing a futures contract with Tampa Bay was guard Jarvis Harrison, another former Aggie. Harrison was drafted in 2015 in the fifth round by the New York Jets but he hasn’t appeared in an NFL game before.