Everything you need to know about Commanders’ unknown linebackers
By Jonathan Eig
The most experienced of Washington’s no-name linebackers has played in a total of seven games. But that’s twice as many as the other five players combined. Harris, along with the next two players to be discussed, is more of a traditional thumper, seemingly better suited to play inside. All three of these players have a little bit of Jon Bostic in them. But Bostic, despite slowing down a bit by the time he came to Washington, was a more explosive athlete.
Harris is 6’0”, 245, and profiles best as an inside backer in a 3-4 set. He was a productive player at Arkansas who could hold his own against SEC competition, but he is not an elite athlete and does not have the speed you would like to see in a classic 4-3 middle linebacker. Watching tape of Harris in college recalls another former SEC linebacker for whom Washington had high hopes – Ryan Anderson. Harris has some experience with the Commanders, which could give him an advantage over his less-experienced competition as they try to unseat David Mayo as the primary depth inside backer.
Notree, from Southern Illinois, initially signed as an UDFA with New Orleans a couple of weeks ago. But New Orleans quickly released him, allowing Washington to scoop him up. The Commanders signed him the same day they released veteran special teamer/linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk.
Notree has good size (6’3”, 233) but his 4.86 40 time raises alarms. There have been plenty of players who have overcome somewhat slower feet with great instincts and reads, but Notree is fighting a pretty big uphill battle here.
Walker, from Idaho, is my favorite of the potential Mayo replacements. He is probably the closest thing to Bostic on the roster right now, and if that doesn’t excite Washington Commanders fans, who considered Bostic a liability playing the middle in 2020, I can sympathize. But Bostic has been the steadiest player Washington has had in the middle since Rivera instituted the 4-3 front.
At 6-foot and 235 pounds, Walker has a lower center than Notree. And though he also lacks the speed and agility you’d prefer in an every down MIKE, he is a tough, experienced player who can produce on run downs.