Everyone knew the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to select Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft but this year is a bit different. Although the Jags are probably taking a pass rusher at No. 1, opinions are split on whether they should go with Georgia’s Travon Walker or Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson.
Heck, Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke told the media one week before the draft that they hadn’t decided yet who will be the pick. Similarly, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network says the top brass hasn’t reached a consensus and are torn between taking Walker, Hutchinson, and North Carolina State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu.
So who are the Jags taking at No. 1? We might need to wait until Draft Day to find out. In the meantime, here’s what the experts are saying.
Peter King sees the Jaguars betting on Travon Walker’s upside.
Until recent days, Aidan Hutchinson was the favorite to go first overall but Trevor Walker is poised to be the Jags’ pick. Peter King thinks that taking Walker at No. 1 would no longer be a surprise. He says that it would be “risky and is skeptical of one-year wonders” but believes he fits Baalke’s history of athletic playmakers.
A couple of analysts at NFL Media believe Travon Walker is the pick.
Former Jaguars running back Maurie Jones-Drew was one of the first analysts to jump on the Travon Walker bandwagon and he hasn’t changed his stance ever since. Similarly, colleague Pete Schrager believes Trent Baalke is leaning toward Walker.
On the other hand, Kyle Brandt and Chat Reuter think Jacksonville should go with Hutchinson. Brandt in particular has high praise for the former Michigan Wolverine and believes that he compares favorably to the top pass rushers in previous drafts.
Ikem Ekwonu is the No. 1 pick in CBS Sports’ most recent mock draft.
Here’s an outlier. Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports is one of the few analysts who go against the grain and sees the Jaguars taking Ikem Ekwonu with the top pick in the draft. This isn’t necessarily shocking when you take into account that the North Carolina product might be Doug Pederson’s preferred choice.
While there’s no doubt Ekwonu would be an excellent addition to the Jags’ offensive line, it wouldn’t make sense to take him if the front office plans to give left tackle Cam Robinson a long-term deal, which seems to be the case. If Robinson stays in Jacksonville beyond 2022, Ekwonu might need to play left guard and it would be a puzzling decision to use the first overall pick on an interior offensive lineman.
Pro Football Focus also projects the Jaguars to take Travon Walker.
By now, you might be noticing a trade. Besides Wilson, most analysts foresee the Jaguars taking Travon Walker and Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus is no different. Meirov argues that most people around the league believe Hutchinson will be the pick but notes that traits and measurable are important to Trent Baalke. That’s why he thinks Walker will be the choice.
"And it’s hard to find a prospect with better measurables than Walker: 6-foot-5, 272 pounds with 35 1/2-inch arms and ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash while also posting a 35 1/2-inch vertical. Walker is a remarkable athlete who would be the classic Baalke pick."
So there you have it. Walker seems to be the favorite to be drafted first overall. Will he ultimately be the pick? Nobody outside the Jaguars’ headquarters knows but nobody should be surprised if they take the former Georgia Bulldog over Hutchinson.