OWINGS MILLS - Being drafted in the fourth round (No. 136) by the Ravens was one of the happiest moments of Tray Walker’s life. It validated Walker’s belief that as a cornerback coming from a small school (Texas Southern), he was talented enough to play football at the highest level.
Unfortunately, Walker’s father was not able to share draft day with his son. Tommy Lee Walker Sr. died at age 53 of a heart attack in November.
Walker is still coping with losing his father. But Walker has arrived at rookie minicamp this weekend determined to make his father proud, and focused on making an impact with the Ravens as a rookie.
“This whole coming season, the whole process right now, I dedicate that to him,” Walker said of his father. “That’s all he wanted. He just wanted the best for me, prayed to God I get this chance. Now I’m here.”
Walker is the first player from Texas Southern to be drafted since 2000, when the Packers drafted wide receiver Joey Jamison in the fifth round. However, Walker comes from a high school powerhouse, Northwestern High in Miami. That same school produced wide receiver Amari Cooper, drafted in the first round by the Raiders, as well as Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Growing up around players like that gives Walker confidence. And he will certainly get a long look from the Ravens, who are looking for cornerback depth behind starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb.
At 6-foot-2, 191 pounds, Walker has the height to matchup with tall NFL receivers. The Ravens have had success with small school players in the past. Walker hopes to continue that trend.
“It felt good,” Walker said of his first day of Ravens practice. “It also feels like I belong here and I always have.”