NFL

Jaguars select Travon Walker first overall

By Sports Desk April 28, 2022

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a significant gamble with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, using that selection on Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker.

Walker usurped Aidan Hutchinson as the favourite to go number one overall late in the pre-draft process.

And the Jaguars, picking number one overall for the second successive year after taking Trevor Lawrence first in 2021, proved the noise around Walker correct by backing him to develop into a dominant pass rusher at the next level.

General manager Trent Baalke made that move despite Walker finishing his college career with the Bulldogs with just 9.5 sacks, six of those coming in a final season that saw Georgia win the National Championship.

Walker registered 31 pressures on 259 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of just 12 per cent, according to Stats Perform data.

Those numbers were in stark contrast to Michigan star Hutchinson, who had a pressure rate of 30.8 per cent in 2021.

However, the Jaguars will be hoping his outstanding athletic traits translate to vastly improved production in the pros.

Though his Georgia defensive line mate Jordan Davis stole the show at the Combine with his remarkable 40-yard dash, Walker's pre-draft workout was exceptional.

Measuring at 6ft 5in and 272 pounds, Walker ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds, putting him in the 98th percentile for defensive ends. His 10-yard split of 1.62 seconds placed him in the 70th percentile.

Walker's arm length (35 and a half inches), hand size (10 and three-quarter inches) and wingspan of over seven feet (84 and a quarter inches) all measured in the 95th percentile for his position.

In the vertical jump and broad jump, which gauge lower-body explosiveness, Walker produced efforts to put him 80th and 87th percentile respectively. In the three-cone drill, used for edge players as an examination of their flexibility to turn the corner and beat an offensive tackle to the outside, Walker posted a time of 6.89 seconds, good enough for the 93rd percentile.

Picking him first overall is a bet on athletic ability over production. It is a massive risk and, as the Jags look to build around a generational quarterback talent in Lawrence, it is one they cannot afford to have backfire.

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