The Jacksonville Jaguars are surely pleased with rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker, who has fared well in the 2022 NFL Preseason. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports recognizes that the former Georgia Bulldog has looked good so far and gave him a positive grade for his performance in the last two games.
Trapasso graded all first-round rookies following Week 1 and gave Walker an A-. He notes that the No.1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft has played well against the run and believes the Jags should be “decently happy with the early returns on Walker to date this preseason“. Here’s what Trapasso had to say about the top pick in the draft:
"Most of Walker’s rushes have been stymied immediately, but he’s been a sturdy edge-setter against the run, forced a fumble against the Browns when he crashed down from the backside, and drew a holding call on Cleveland’s starting left tackle Jedrick Wills. His sack in the Hall of Fame game was more due to Jarrett Stidham attempting to scramble right past him than an individual win from Walker. He had another hit on Stidham on an outside speed rush that was more impressive."
It’s important to note that most NFL teams made their preseason debut last week but the Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders played an extra game in Hall-of-Fame week, so Trapasso took it into consideration when assessing Walker.
Walker has played a combined 25 defensive snaps against the Raiders and the Browns. He’s logged three total pressures, one sack, and one forced fumble. He posted a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 66.4 against Las Vegas and a 73.7 mark against Cleveland.
The Jaguars should be pleased with Travon Walker’s development
Keep in mind that Trapasso wasn’t high on Walker ahead of the draft and even saw him as a second-round talent. Similarly, he thought that Walker would benefit from a redshirt year, so it’s good to see him be as fair as possible.
Walker was seen as a raw prospect coming out of college. Even though he had outstanding physical traits, he was hardly ever asked to get after the quarterback, and instead had different roles on the Bulldogs’ defense. The Georgia native is currently making the transition to full-time outside linebacker, so a learning curve is expected.
For the time being, Walker is trending in the right direction. Sure, he hasn’t played a down in a game that will count in the standings but he’s done everything the Jaguars’ coaching staff has asked him to do. He didn’t look out of position in training camp and fared well once they put the pads on. And so far, the 2019 Freshman All-SEC has made a positive impression in the preseason.
While it’s too early to anoint Walker as the next Von Miller or see him as a legitimate candidate to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2022, the Jaguars should be thrilled about his steady transition into a new role.