The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t had much success finding playmakers in the NFL Draft. They took Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick last year but he was a generational talent and was as safe as a prospect can be. The Jags hold the No. 1 selection again and they will need to get it right. That’s why they might be better off taking Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson over Georgia’s Travon Walker.
Most mock drafts see the Jaguars taking Hutchinson at No. 1 but there are a few, including Chris Trapasso’s, that project them to select Walker. Similarly, Matt Lombardo of FanSided talked to several NFL executives and didn’t get a clear answer. Instead, he found mixed opinions about what Jacksonville should do with the top pick.
Walker’s stock has been gaining steam in recent weeks because of an outstanding performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. He checks all the boxes from a physical standpoint but wasn’t high on many many draft boards due to his relatively low production at Georgia. However, he lined anywhere across the Bulldogs’ defensive line an’ didn’t have the chance to make many plays because he didn’t play as many snaps as the other edge prospects in the draft.
Also, there’s the fact Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke believes Walker compares favorably to former defensive end Aldon Smith, his very first pick when he was leading the San Francisco 49ers front office in 2011. This could make it a two-man race for the No. 1 pick in Jacksonville.
Travon Walker has potential but the Jaguars need a proven commodity.
At this point, it’s unknown who’s higher on the Jaguars’ big board, Hutchinson or Walker. Both are enticing prospects but Walker’s lack of playing time in college makes it a risky pick at the top of the draft. Sure, he has the potential and an immensely high ceiling but he needs more work than Hutchinson at this stage of his football career. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report believes the former Wolverine is a safer choice at No. 1.
"If the Jaguars want a pass-rusher, Hutchinson, who has a higher floor because of his pass-rushing move set and refined technique, would better suit the team’s need on the edge."
Moton goes on to say that Walker might turn out into a productive pass-rusher in the NFL but he’s not worth the risk in the top 3. Keep in mind that he’s not alone in his assessment and most observers will tell you Walker’s biggest “knock” is that he’s not polished enough or similar variations.
The Jaguars need to start to consistently draft well in the first round if they want to leave the cellar of the NFL. Taking Trevor Lawrence last year was a good first step but they find another playmaker. They need to refrain from taking big risks at No. 1 and choose the safest possible pick, that’s why Walker isn’t a feasible option at No. 1.