The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Georgia defensive end Travon Walker with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Travon Walker is a 6'5", 272-pound defensive end who was a five-star recruit out of Thomaston, Georgia. He enrolled at Georgia in 2019 and quickly became an integral part of the country's most talented and dominant defense. Walker became a full-time starter in 2021, moving up and down the line of scrimmage for the Bulldogs. He registered 33 tackles, six sacks, seven tackles for loss, 34 quarterback pressures, two passes defended, and one fumble recovery during his final collegiate season.
At the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, Walker turned in impressive performances with 35 1/2-inch arms, 4.52 40-yard dash, 1.62 10-yard split, 36-inch vert, 123-inch broad jump, 6.89-second 3-cone, and 4.32 short shuttle.
The one area of concern in Travon Walker's game is pass-rushing refinement. At Georgia, he wasn't asked to pin his ears back and rush the passer all that often, and when he was, Walker lacked a pass-rush toolbox and plan. He'll need to develop his technique at the next level to live up to the expectations that come with being the first overall pick.
The Jaguars' defense ranked 28th in points allowed and 27th in sacks in 2021. Walker joins a defensive end/outside linebacker group, including Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot, Arden Key, and K'Lavon Chaisson.
The Jaguars still hold picks 33, 65, 70, 106, 157, 180, 188, 198, 199, 223, and 236. The team's top remaining immediate needs are at linebacker, wide receiver, interior offensive line, and safety.
My take: Travon Walker will dominate against the run, both on the play side and backside, from the jump, thanks to his long arms, powerful hands, and processing skills. To make an impact against the pass, Walker should be deployed up and down the line of scrimmage and used to eat up blocks and on stunts. Additionally, he can drop into shallow zones and disrupt the timing and flow of the passing game over the middle with his length, athleticism, and instincts. His versatility will allow defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell to use him as a chess piece along the defensive front. Walker will make plays all over the field and free up teammates, but will he impact the quarterback enough to warrant being selected first overall? That's the multi-million-dollar question.
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