The Jacksonville Jaguars had the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft for the second year in a row. Last season, they went offense and grabbed QB Trevor Lawrence. This season, they went defense as they selected former Georgia DE Travon Walker.
The Jaguars are hoping to strengthen a defense that was 27th in the NFL in sacks last season and is hoping that Walker, whose versatility allowed him played various positions on the defensive line at Georgia, can help improve the pass rush.
In Jacksonville, Walker will be able to focus on one position, which will probably be defensive end. and he believes that will help him be better on the next level.
“Just to all the people that say that I can’t pass rush or do whatever I didn’t, wasn’t as productive at Georgia,” Walker said at his introductory press conference on Friday. “I’ve never really just played one position consistently, so I feel like I’ll be able to grow as a player once I just focus on one main position…
“I see myself playing on the edge, five-technique, anything on the outside on the edge. At Georgia, I was just, like you said, I always told my coaches I’d do anything to get on the field, so therefore, I played everything from a zero nose all the way out to a nine, wide, six technique.”
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson added on Walker: “As Travon alluded to, put him in one spot and let him grow in one spot. And obviously, there is versatility, so as we grow with him and as he understands what we’re doing schematically, we can move him around the defense just a little bit. But it’s just a matter of getting him in here, getting him acclimated, getting him around the teammates, and getting him started with the defense. Really solidify him in one spot and let him grow in one spot.”
Walker will see some familiar faces in Jacksonville, including Lawrence and his former Georgia teammate, corner Tyson Campbell.
“I’d have to say I’m pretty close with Trevor Lawrence,” he said. “I’ve known him ever since high school, so I feel like he’ll be somebody who takes me under his wing. I came on my top-30 visit; he was working out, he ran up to me, so I just feel like we already have that bond. I have Tyson Campbell here as well to help me.”
Walker, who had a career-high six sacks last season at Georgia, says the best advice he received was to be himself, which he discussed Friday.
“They just tell me to be myself,” Walker said. “They tell me to stay humble like I’ve always been, and they know I’m a hard worker. I’m a person who’s going to give it my all. They just tell me to be who I always have been.”
Jacksonville was 28th in points allowed in 2021, and they focused on defense in the first round. The Jaguars grabbed for Utah LB Devin Lloyd with the 27th overall pick. The team hopes that Walker and Lloyd can help improve make their defense more formidable in 2022 and beyond.