Walton Bronco-bound in NFL
Allen head football coach Tom Westerberg has accomplished a lot during his career.
Westerberg has won a Class 5A State Championship as both an offensive coordinator and a head coach, but it was until Friday night that Westerberg could say he was the head coach of a player taken in the NFL Draft.
That accomplishment was marked off the list as former Eagle J.D. Walton was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 16th pick in the third round, 80th overall, of the 2010 NFL Draft.
“It’s a really good deal for J.D.,” Westerberg said, “and it’s good for our program.”
Westerberg wasn’t watching the draft at the exact moment Walton was selected, but said he had more interest in the festivities than usual since Walton was expected to be selected in the first four rounds.
As it was, the Broncos were thrilled to see Walton still on the board come pick No. 80 as he was the team’s second-rated center behind Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey, who was taken in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We were fortunate that [Walton] was still there in the third round,” said Josh McDaniels, Denver head coach. “We’re excited to add him into that competition at center.”
As McDaniels alluded to, Walton will be in the mix for Denver’s starting center spot and may be the favorite to win the job. But the 6-foot-3, 300-pounder knows he’ll have to work for it.
“I'm there to bust my butt and earn it; nothing is going to be given,” Walton said. “I think my pass blocking is very good. I think I can get out in space and get out to linebackers in the corners on screens. But everything’s going to have to be bumped up another level just because it’s the NFL. Everything’s got to be stepped up a notch.”
Walton has excelled at stepping up during his football career.
Walton, who was in the Allen system since seventh grade, was originally projected as just a two-star prospect in high school.
But by the time he graduated from Allen in 2005, Walton had earned an invite to both the Coca-Cola All-Star Game and the Oil Bowl while picking up a scholarship to Arizona State. Walton and his family also made an impact on the community outside of football as the offensive lineman is on the Eagles weightlifting Wall of Honor and his parents, Danny and Donna Walton, both worked in the Allen ISD.
Walton transferred from Arizona State to Baylor after being redshirted as a freshman and sat out the 2006 season due to the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Walton would go on to start all 36 games he played for the Bears and was named first team All-American at center during his recently completed senior season. In his last two years at Baylor, Walton amassed 194 pancake blocks and was responsible for 26 touchdown-scoring blocks.
Having reached success at all prior levels of the game, Walton will now begin the toughest challenge of his football career.
“J.D. has wanted to be an NFL football player since he was 5 years old and I think his dream is coming true,” Mr. and Mrs. Walton said. “With the support he had at Allen, from his friends and family and throughout his college experience, his passion to play football has remained very strong. We would like to say thanks to everyone that had a part in it.
“And go Broncos.”