There have been plenty of questions surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars’ decision to select Travon Walker with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL. Nevertheless, the Jags are most likely thrilled about his performance against the Las Vegas Raiders in the Hall-of-Fame game. Walker certainly is.
Walker met with the media after Jacksonville’s 27-11 loss to the Raiders and said that getting his first sack was “definitely an exciting feeling“. The former Georgia Bulldog adds that “there’s plenty more to come”.
The rookie outside linebacker started the game strong, pushing Raiders offensive tackle Brandon Parker back to get to quarterback Jarrett Stidham. He got a roughing the passer penalty afterwards but it was debatable whether it was warranted or not. Either way, Walker eventually got his first preseason sack.
Walker ended up playing 16 defensive snaps and logging one total tackle, one sack, and two total pressures. He also earned a healthy Pro Football Focus overall grade of 66.5. Here’s his whole exchange with the media in case you want to look at it, via First Coast News.
Jaguars OLB Travon Walker must build off his preseason debut
After the game, Walker got rave reviews from observers around the league. Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk says the rookie impressed against the Raiders while analyst Jordan Reid of ESPN says his flash plays “make you sit up your seat“. Having said that, it’s just one game, a preseason one for that matter.
This isn’t to say Walker had a bad performance. Far from it, but he needs to show he can play at a high level against top competition. For the time being, he must build off his encouraging outing against the Raiders and continue to make the transition to outside linebacker.
That’s right, Walker has had a promising training camp and has shown flashes of the talent that made him the No. 1 pick in the draft. However, he’s still adjusting to both the NFL and playing from a standup position full-time, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him have a more quiet game against the Cleveland Browns next week. After all, he’s a rookie and like most first-year players, he’s going to experience a learning curve.
The Jaguars were surely pleased with Walker’s performance against the Raiders but it will be a while before they can definitely tell whether their massive gamble on Draft Day paid off or not.