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It didn’t take long for Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen to take rookie OLB Travon Walker under his wing. Just as he once did with a similarly young player in K’Lavon Chaisson over the past few years, Allen has worked his relationship with Walker, giving him plenty of tips along the way as the team continues through the first week of training camp and beyond.
Allen, drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by Jacksonville, has been one of the core defensive leaders on the team over the past couple of seasons since Calais Campbell’s surprising trade to the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, Allen has asserted himself and pushed his fellow teammates along the way.
For Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in this past draft, having a close tight-knit relationship with a player of similar vein can only help him moving forward to become one of the top pass rushers on the team and eventually in the league.
“I have to say, I’m very grateful to have Josh. Josh is one of those guys, he’s still young, he can relate to me, he’s been in my shoes. He’s just taught me everything that he knows, and that’s a lot of knowledge that I need coming into the league,” Walker told members of the media following practice on Wednesday.
Fittingly, Allen would make a surprise appearance at Walker’s press conference, giving everyone, including Walker a big smile as he continued to praise the fourth-year veteran.
“It’s very important [to work with Allen]. He’s a great player. I mean, look at him,” Walker said with a laugh. “I say he’s a unicorn. He’s a different type of player—long, agile, fast—and I feel like I’m a similar type player. I definitely would [say the same thing if he wasn’t standing here].”
The two players do look similar when up-close-and-personal on the practice field. Allen is listed at 6-foot-5, 262 pounds, while Walker is listed at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds. The weight difference is noticeable, but not by much.
They are often seen mimicking each other during their individual drills with outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey before the team breaks off into a more team setting. At the end of the day, it’s about the work the two put in, and that’s what will push them to be that much better.
On Tuesday, Allen was asked about Walker and the bond the two share. Allen stated simply that he tries to lead by example, doing what he can do to help players.
“I want to be the best player in the National Football League this year, and I prepare like that, and I’m going to continue to prepare like that. If he wants to be the best player, the best rookie in his draft class, which I think he is—or Devin, or Chad, or Luke—come follow me,” Allen said.
“We can all get better, we can all work, we can all learn, we can all grow from each other, and that’s why I’m really excited about him and this whole draft class.”
It’s an obvious pairing, Allen and Walker, and as the team continues through camp, and eventually the regular season, the duo will hope to do what it takes to make them tops in the league. Certainly, the team’s coaching staff believes it can be.