Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars take huge gamble with Georgia’s Travon Walker at No. 1

todayApril 28, 2022

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By Hays Carlyon
I hope Travon Walker is great.
I hope Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is right and many of us are wrong.
The Jaguars started the NFL Draft with a stunner on Thursday night, selecting the Georgia defensive lineman with the top pick. Walker had 9.5 sacks in his three-year career with the Bulldogs.
According to ESPN, Walker is the first player selected No. 1 that never made an All-American or All-Conference team in college.
This is one of the biggest gambles in NFL Draft history.
The Jaguars passed on Michigan defensive standout Aidan Hutchinson, who had 14 sacks last season. Detroit quickly selected Hutchinson second and will probably be sending Baalke a really nice Christmas card this year and perhaps for many more.
So why Walker? The 21-year-old Walker is the epitome of a traits over production pick. Walker (6-5, 272 pounds) ran an astonishing 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine at 4.51 seconds. He also has a huge wingspan.
“He played all the way up and down the line of scrimmage, anywhere from a zero technique all the way to a seven technique,” Baalke said. “Played in the two-point stance off the edge, which he’s going to be used a lot in our scheme. That versatility, ability to stop the run, rush the passer, there’s a lot of work to do, but there’s a lot of talent to work with.”
It’s that final comment that concerns me.
I don’t want to have to use my imagination. This feels like too much projecting with the first pick.
If a player didn’t get a bunch of sacks in college, why would they get a bunch at a much higher level of football?
While Baalke and Jaguars coach Doug Pederson praised Walker’s versatility, Pederson also cautioned that Walker will be specifically trained.
“I think getting him in one position and letting him really get good at one position,” Pederson said. “That’s where we feel he’s really going to make the most impact for us.”
Walker seems like a great young man. He’s been praised for his self-discipline and high character.
Hopefully, he will be fantastic for the Jaguars.
However, there’s no question that a franchise that is 44-120 under owner Shad Khan just took arguably it’s biggest risk in its draft history.
(You can email Hays at haysc@1010xl.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).

Written by: Dylan Ryan


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Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

My Jaguars 7-round mock draft: Take Hutchinson, please

By Hays Carlyon I’m in the opinion business. The Jaguars make a big decision and I react to it. I have a strong feeling I will react negatively to what Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is going to do tonight with the first pick in the NFL Draft. But it’s easy to criticize when you don’t put yourself out there. So, I am doing a seven-round Jaguars mock draft. This […]

todayApril 28, 2022