No. 1 Jaguars player whose stock rose this summer: Travon Walker, OLB
Edge rusher Josh Allen is the Jaguars’ best defensive player but the team’s brass expects big things from outside linebacker Travon Walker. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have drafted him first overall earlier this year. After taking Trevor Lawrence last year, Jacksonville wasn’t in need of a quarterback, which allowed them to take the best player available at the top of the draft.
The Jags could have gone with the more polished Aidan Hutchinson or an offensive tackle such as Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwono. Instead, they went with Walker because if you’re going to bet, might as well go big. At the time of his selection, general manager Trent Baalke got plenty of criticism, and rightfully so. After all, Walker has the power and explosiveness to thrive in the NFL but he was raw coming out of college, having rarely gotten after the quarterback at Georgia.
Walker is currently making the transition to outside linebacker full-time after being asked to play different roles on the Bulldogs’ defense. So far, the position switch is going well and the Jaguars’ brass is pleased with the results. During the preseason, he put on display the kind of impact he can have. He had a sack against the Las Vegas Raiders and later forced a fumble against the Cleveland Browns.
While there’s a good chance Walker is going to have a learning curve in his rookie campaign, he’s been everything the Jaguars bargained for.