The Jacksonville Jaguars opened the 2022 NFL Draft with a bang, taking Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the first overall pick. The Jags’ decision to choose the former Bulldog doesn’t come as a surprise when you take into account that he had been moving up big boards over the last few weeks and became a favorite of general manager Trent Baalke during the process. So why did the organization take Walker?
The Jaguars have a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and they have spent the offseason surrounding him with better talent. However, they haven’t neglected the defensive side of the ball, signing cornerback Darious Williams, defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi, defensive end Arden Key and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun. Walker gives defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell yet another building block.
Last season, Walker posted 33 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, and six sacks. His biggest knock coming out of Georgia is his lack of experience. However, he always made the most of whatever opportunities he got and often made players for the Bulldogs. He should be a Day 1 starter in the NFL and will get significantly better with more playing time. Keep in mind that he lined up at different spots across Georgia’s defensive line and his flexibility will give Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell a movable chess piece.
The Georgia native isn’t the most polished pass rusher in this year’s draft but he should still become a Day 1 starter on the Jags’ defense. The team’s brass believed his upside was too much to pass up and his addition to Jacksonville’s front seven will help take some pressure off outside linebacker Josh Allen, who has been the team’s best defensive player.
What’s next for the Jaguars in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Now that the Jaguars have fortified their front seven, they must check off the remaining boxes on their to-do list. They need to add a linebacker, and left guard, a wide receiver, a center, and a running back. They can easily address all or most of those needs in the next four rounds. Jacksonville currently holds the 33rd overall pick and two selections in the third round, No. 65 and No. 70.
One thing to keep an eye on is a potential trade. If there’s a prospect the Jaguars like a player late in the 20-30 range, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them trade the No. 33 pick and jump back into the first round.
Walker will have an instant impact on the Jaguars’ defense. Trent Baalke now needs to keep adding playmakers in the remaining rounds of the draft.