Few fans watching the draft have heard of Middle Tennessee's Erik Walden, but his coaches — and…
Dallas Drafts LB in Sixth Round
He played defensive end in college but he is expected to make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL.
Last season with the Blue Raiders, Walden recorded 46 tackles last season, including 8.5 for loss, two sacks and an interception.
"He's a player we had in with one of the 30 guys," said Cowboys' head coach Wade Phillips. "He played with a turf toe the whole year. Watching the tape on him you had to be impressed. Even limping he played fast. He's a hitter.
"We are projecting him as a linebacker and we've done that in the past with those defensive end types. He can run and he can hit and he's completely well now. He was playing on one leg against LSU and teams like that and playing well."
Walden was taken with the final Dallas pick of the 2008 draft- the first pick in the sixth round.
Erik Walden Bio
2007: Voted a first team All-Sun Belt selection by the league's coaches and media ... Played in 10 games and earned nine starts ... Had 46 stops on the season to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, two pass breakups, and a safety ... Played 603 total snaps ... Named to Rotary Lombardi Watch List in March ... Had three sacks in the Blue-White game ... Voted preseason all-SBC ... Registered four tackles, including one for lost yardage against FAU ... Had two tackles at Louisville and LSU ... Added six stops, including two for lost yardage and a forced fumble against WKU ... Did not play against FIU or UVA due to a toe injury ... Played 48 snaps in his return against Memphis but did not have a tackle ... Had one stop in win over ASU ... Enjoyed a monster game at North Texas with three tackles for loss, a sack, his first career interception, and a safety ... Had a career-high 12 tackles, including two for loss of yards at ULM ... Registered a personal-best 11 solo tackles against ULL ... Had three tackles and a pass breakup at Troy.
2006: Named First Team All-Sun Belt Conference ... Played in all 13 games ... Had a career-best 48 tackles on the season, including a school record 11.5 sacks (ranked 10th nationally) ... Also had three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and 14.5 tackles for loss ... Was listed as the starter at left defensive end coming out of spring drills ... Tallied five tackles and a forced fumble in the Blue-White Spring Game ... Was presented the Dr. James E. Walker Junior Academic award at the spring game ... Recorded a sack, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble in 44 snaps against FIU to earn a "winning performance" from the coaching staff ... Had three tackles at Maryland ... Registered four tackles, including two quarterback sacks in 35 plays against Tennessee Tech and earned a "winning performance" ... Collected five tackles in 28 plays at Oklahoma ... Did not record a tackle at North Texas but came back with six stops and a tackle for loss against no. 8 Louisville ... Registered three tackles and a sack at Louisiana-Monroe to earn a "winning performance" ... Had one tackle and a pass breakup in win at Louisiana-Lafayette ... Collected three tackles and a sack in win over FAU ... Became the all-time sacks leader at Middle Tennessee with two against Arkansas State and finished the game with a personal-best seven tackles ... Added three tackles against South Carolina ... Had six tackles including 3.5 tackles for loss and a career-best 2.5 sacks against Troy ... Led the Blue Raiders against Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl with six tackles and two quarterback sacks.
2005: Played in all 11 games, including eight as a starter (five at defensive end and three at linebacker) ... Enjoyed a career-best 33 tackles on the season to go with three sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble ... Collected four tackles in the opener at Alabama, including a quarterback sack, and registered two stops against North Texas ... Had a season-high five stops at home against Akron including four solos ... Registered a tackle for loss in win at Vanderbilt ... Did not record a tackle at FAU ... Had six total tackles and a quarterback sack against ULL ... Came up with four tackles, a quarterback sack, and a pass breakup in win over Arkansas State ... Earned his first career start at linebacker in place of the injured Dennis Burke and responded with six stops ... Had two tackles including one for loss in win at Troy.
2004: Played in 10 games with four starts, registering a team-high six sacks and tying for the lead with 8.5 tackles for loss ... Tallied 25 total stops with one forced fumble ... Made three solo tackles in opener at Akron ... Both stops versus Florida Atlantic were for loss including one sack ... Totaled three tackles, 2.5 for loss, and two sacks against Idaho ... The next week had two more sacks and three total stops versus Utah State ... Made four tackles at New Mexico State ... Tallied a season-high six stops, two for loss, and one sack against Louisiana-Monroe ... Also forced a fumble versus ULM ... Had a pair of stops in season finale at Troy.
2003: Sat out the year due to NCAA academic guidelines.
High School: Earned first team Associated Press all-state honors after guiding Dublin to a 14-1 record and a spot in the state title game in 2002 (lost to Screven Co. and future Blue Raider teammate Sean Mosley) ... Was a Macon Telegraph first team all-Middle Georgia selection while also begin tabbed the Courier-Herald Heart of Georgia Defensive Player of the Year ... Ended his senior year with 97 total tackles and a school record 19 quarterback sacks ... Also tallied 11 tackles for loss, recovered two fumbles, and had one interception ... As a running back, Walden averaged 6.6 yards a carry and scored eight touchdowns while registering 16 receptions for four more scores ... He finished with 837 yards of total offense ... Lettered in football, basketball, and track ... Played football for Coach Roger Holmes.
Personal: Parents: Johnny and Shirley Walden ... Born: 8/21/85 ... Major: Physical Education.
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