The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Georgia pass rusher Travon Walker with the first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Walker may seem like a surprise to a lot of people nationally, but he is a player who’s name has started to come up locally as a possibility for the first overall pick, and momentum and chatter really picked up the closer we got to the NFL Draft. Many stated that everyone would be “surprised” by the Jaguars pick first overall and while it may be a surprise to many nationally, locally the pick does not offer much surprise, especially with general manager Trent Baalke’s background and history.
Walker measured in at the NFL Combine at 6-foot-5, 272 pounds with 35.5 inch arms. Not only did Walker have the freak size the NFL covets in a pass rusher, he also displayed the athletic traits in testing in Indianapolis. Walker clocked a 4.51 40-yard dash at 272 pounds, a 35.5 vert, 123 broad and had nice 3-cone and shuttle times. As mentioned with Baalke’s background, it’s likely Walker reminded him of someone like former San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith, who physically comes in very similar to Walker.
This isn’t to say Walker doesn’t have concerns coming into the NFL. Walker had limited production, sack wise, during his time at Georgia. Some of that is he was just on kind of an All-Star studded defense, but some of that is he’s just a super unrefined pass rusher at the moment. He won mostly with this length, speed and power but seemed to lack some refined pass rushing moves. Now, typically pass rushers have to learn these moves at the NFL level, but that is also asking that your franchise is able to actually develop players. Out of the gate however, Walker should be a stellar run defender, which is also something that will help out the Jaguars defense as a rookie.