With Corey Peters already out for an extended period with a foot injury, the Atlanta Falcons’ defensive line was dealt another blow yesterday when DT Vance Walker was forced out of practice with an undisclosed injury. Walker’s absence was reported by Falcons’ beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
A four year NFL veteran out of Georgia Tech, Walker enjoyed his best pro season with the Falcons in 2011, recording 18 tackles (2 sacks) and forcing one fumble. He is expected to see an even bigger role in Atlanta’s D-tackle rotation this year as the first extra off the bench and as an extra lineman.
Because Peters is expected to be out for at least two more weeks, if the injury to Walker is long-term, Peria Jerry becomes the Falcons’ top option among reserve defensive tackles. A first round pick in the 2009 Draft, Jerry has been a disappointment since entering the NFL. He did not record a sack in 16 regular season games last year, and has only 20 tackles as a professional.
The Falcons also have some camp-depth on the active roster, namely rookies Micanor Regis from Miami, and nose tackle Travian Robertson from South Carolina. If Walker is to miss more than a few days of practice, the Falcons may opt to sign another defensive body to compete with Jerry and the rookies. One option could be LS Matt Camilli, who was released from Lions’ camp on Wednesday. Camilli played defensive line before redshirting at UTEP, has experience in NFL camp, and could fill in short-term until Walker returns. He would also battle with incumbent long snapper Joe Zelenka, who turned 36 this off-season.
The Falcons return to practice Friday night, under the lights in Georgia.