Michael Anthony Sims-Walker was born Michael Anthony Walker and is a native of Orlando, Fla. In 2009, Walker changed his surname to Sims-Walker to honor his father, Michael Sims, who died from colon cancer on December 6, 2008. In 2010, he created the Mike Sims-Walker Foundation to honor his father. Through his foundation, he launched the Playmaker 11 Scholarship that provides 10 $200 one-time book stipends and one $1,000 book stipend to graduating high school seniors in the Jacksonville-area and his hometown of Orlando.
The 6-2, 214-pound receiver was a two-way star at Edgewater High School where he was a defensive back and receiver. During his senior season at Edgewater, he had 13 interceptions and 77 tackles in his junior and senior seasons. On the other side of the ball, he was equally impressive as he snatched 40 receptions for 812 yards and 10 scores. Several sources at Rivals.com ranked him as the 27th best receiver in the country and he put on a show in the Cali-Florida Bowl, where he had five catches for 75 yards.
Sims-Walker played his collegiate ball at the University of Central Florida. During his sophomore year, he played six games at cornerback due to injuries to the team and because he was one of the best athletes on the team. He had nine catches for 191 yards, and also had three interceptions while playing defense. During his junior campaign, he played wide receiver only and finished second on the team with 64 receptions for 855 yards and nine touchdowns. In his senior year, he set the Central Florida record for most receptions in a single season with 90. The two-time All-Conference USA player (2005, 2006) was a nightmare for all schools in the conference during his collegiate career. His total collegiate career numbers were 46 games with 184 receptions for 2,561 yards (13.9-yard average).
Pre-draft measurables. Height: 6020; Weight: 209; 40: 4.35; Short shuttle: 4.01; 3Cone: 6.92; Standing broad jump: 10’1 and 18 reps on the bench press.
Drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft, he ended his career with the Jaguars with 122 receptions, 1,648 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Rams agreed to terms with Sims-Walker on a one-year deal that could be worth $3.7 million if he reaches various incentives. The based salary is less than $1 million. It’s a one-year “prove-it” deal. Sims-Walker has playmaking skill set for this level of competition. He has shown that skill set with 14 touchdowns in 27 career starts with an impressive 13.51 yards-per catch average.
While many NFL receivers are labeled a diva, because of their reputation and attitude for complaining too much, Sims-Walker was tagged with that stigma in Jacksonville, which is hard to shake. In the games I viewed in 2010, this young man has all the tools needed to be very successful in St. Louis, with the skill set for the position to become a big-time player in the right system and with a big-time quarterback, I think both of those situations are sitting right in front of him.
One of the other reasons for the one-year deal is the injury history factor. There is some injury history and the ability to stay healthy over the first few years of his career was and might still be a concern for Rams personnel.
I was on the staff at the University of Washington when D.J. McCarthy played wide receiver, a very solid college receiver after transferring from a California junior college. After his playing career ended, McCarthy went into coaching and was blessed to have coached and worked hard to develop several college receivers who have gone on to have success at the next level: Nate Burleson (Reno/Nevada, Detroit Lions), Brandon Marshall (Central Florida, Miami Dolphins) and Sims-Walker (Central Florida, St. Louis Rams) just to name a few.
When I asked McCarthy to describe Sims-Walker as a person he said “great young man, no off-the-field issues with a quiet overall personality and is soft spoken. He is very competitive and wants to be and will work to be great.” Having coached two receivers in college that are starting receivers in the NFL today in Burleson and Marshall, I asked him to compare the three coming out of college.
“Sims has great feet like Burleson, and the toughness and physical attributes of Marshall. When I asked him about the route-running skill set and playmaking ability his comments were, “That’s a toss-up. While Nate and Brandon have had more success at the next level, Mike is a very good route-runner and like the other two he can and will take a game over with his explosive playmaking ability.”
When watching film of Sims-Walker, I can’t help to think what might have been if this player was with the Rams in the 2010 season. He has the size, skills, hands and he is competitive, tough and extremely aggressive to the ball. If Brandon Lloyd can put up the numbers he did in the 2010 Josh McDaniels offense, there’s no telling what Sims-Walker might be able to accomplish.
*Meanwhile, former Rams great Isaac Bruce will pass on his knowledge of the game, and is planning on helping the Rams’ receivers during camp. He is expected to arrive in the next few days.