Position: Defensive end
Size: 6'5", 250 lbs.
Recruit Ranking: A two-star recruit at defensive end.
2013 Statistics: 41 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss (VU co-leader), four sacks, five QB hurries (led team).
• 2013 SEC Academic Honor Roll
• 2012 SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week (Nov. 10)
• 2010 SEC All-Freshman team
Strengths: May was a little-hyped recruit, but he came on in a big way after redshirting in 2009. The defensive end made a big impact in his first year of eligibility, showing off solid athleticism, great drive with his legs, and a solid ability to get into the backfield off the snap. He grew from there to give Vanderbilt a consistent high-quality performer in the trenches for four straight seasons.
May was the most dangerous DE on a team loaded with talent at the position in 2013. He can play effectively from the three-point stance or standing, and his ability to get around opposing tackles has made him a legitimate threat at the hashmarks. While he's decent against the running game, he made a name for himself as a pass rusher at Vandy. He can use his quickness around the edge or get low enough on his blocker(s) to collapse the pocket and cause trouble on the line. May changes directions well and can chase down ball carriers from behind when needed.
May was a durable player in the trenches. Though an injury cut his freshman season short, he came back to play in the final 39 games of his career - including 33 straight starts at defensive end. That figure becomes more impressive when you look at the guys who were gunning for his spot in the starting lineup - players like Azubike, Woestmann, and Stephen Weatherly.
He's a strong tackler with good form, and May is the kind of player who will follow plays downfield and make tackles where he's not supposed to. He was a leader on and off the field for Vandy throughout his five years on campus.
Weaknesses: Though May has the height to be an effective NFL defensive end, he's undersized at 250 pounds, and stronger offensive linemen were able to turn him away from the ball with regularity at Vanderbilt. That lack of bulk effectively erases many of the benefits that his solid technique and quick feet give him.
May is an effective pass rusher, but he's not the explosive kind of athlete that will have scouts drooling over him. His sack totals weren't especially high for an impact player, and many of those tackles were partially due to solid coverage downfield. His best plays come as a pass rusher, and that may limit his role in the pros if he can't prove his effectiveness against the run.
Projection: A potential seventh round pick, but likely undrafted. May's best comparison right now is Tim Fugger, the Vandy DE who played well enough as a senior to be selected in the seventh round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Unfortunately, Fugger has yet to see any regular season playing time in the NFL and has been a practice squad transient through his two seasons in the pros. May's senior year wasn't as disruptive as Fugger's, so it stands to reason that the Alabaman will fall farther down draft charts in 2014, especially with a very deep draft class on the books.
May is a different player than Fugger. He's more consistent but less explosive than his former teammate. He has the ability and drive to contribute at the next level, but finding the right opportunity will be difficult for him. Walker May got it done week after week in college, but he fell just short of standing out in the SEC. Will teams be willing to invest some time on a kid who grew tremendously at Vanderbilt?