by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Sooner Sports.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Oklahoma, Tackle, Walter Rouse
Name- Walter Rouse
HT/WT- 6’6” 323 lbs.
Home – Washington, D.C.
Walter Rouse attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. and was rated a 4-star recruit by Rivals. He had a decorated high school career and was named the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year as well as a two-time all-league first-time offensive tackle. He committed to Stanford during his senior season after having several division one offers.
As a freshman, Rouse started 11 out of 12 games and was named second team freshman All-American by The Athletic. He was only the second Stanford Cardinals true freshman to start at left tackle since 2000.
In the Covid-19 shortened season, he started all 6 games for Stanford at left tackle and was named an All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention by the league’s coaches. He started all 12 games at left tackle in 2021 and in 733 snaps, he gave up just 3 sacks on 460 pass-blocking plays.
Last season, he started 10 games at left tackle, missing two due to injury. According to PFF, he played 650 snaps and was only flagged for one penalty. After the season, Rouse announced he was entering the transfer portal and elected to play for the Oklahoma Sooners. So far this season, Rouse has started 9 games at left tackle for the Sooners, helping lead them to a 7-2 start.
Rouse has pure power that can hit defenders and move them after his initial punch. What makes him special is the movement he has on the outside, using a combination of his size, strength and athleticism to keep speed rushers at bay. He will dominate one-on-one and should excel at working in close quarters. His upper body strength is hard to overcome and once he lands his initial contact on a defender, it is usually game over. He rarely gets called for holding or illegal procedures and has a good football I.Q.
On the downside, Rouse has a bad habit of making initial contact and then dropping his head. This is something that will need to be cleaned up before the NFL. His footwork in pass protection is sloppy and he relies too much on his initial contact to keep pass rushers back. He will need to improve his mechanics when coming out of his back pedal and being able to move to each side. He is a bit of a waist bender who loses his base and leans forward, losing his upper body strength. At times, he can overplay the outside and opens the door for inside pass rushing moves.
Rasheed Walker, a 7th round pick out of Penn State, is a player Draft 412 feels like is a good comparison to Walter Rouse. Both were starting tackles who were players you heard of throughout their college careers but just never became that complete tackle you thought they could be by draft time. Rouse is going down the same path as Walker, a probable late round draft pick who will have to fight for an NFL spot.
Upper body strength
Lack of penalties
Tilts head down after contact
Walter Rouse is a player who has played a lot of college football at a high level but a lot of his skill set does not translate to being an NFL starter. He will have to work for everything he gets, and Draft 412 sees his ceiling as a late round draft pick who becomes a serviceable NFL backup.
Draft 412 Draft Projection - Round 7 or UDFA