Travon Walker could be Jaguars X-Factor in 2nd half of 2022 season

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

NFL teams usually expect their first-round picks to contribute right out of the game but the Jacksonville Jaguars used the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft on outside linebacker Travon Walker knowing it could be a while before he can become a playmaker.

While the former Georgia Bulldog has shown flashes at times, he still has a long way to go. But if his learning curve speeds up, he could give the Jags’ defense a significant boost in the second half of the 2022 season, which is why he was named their potential X-Factor.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus drew up a list of strengths, weaknesses, and potential X-Factors for each NFL team and he believes Walker could form a formidable pass-rush duo alongside outside linebacker Josh Allen if he continues making strides in the second half of the season.

"First overall pick edge defender Travon Walker is still a work in progress as his selection was more about betting on traits than adding a polished edge defender. If Walker can continue to improve and start winning more of his one-on-one matchups, he and Josh Allen could become a tough edge duo to handle."

Walker tested favorably in the NFL Combine and has most of the traits to play at a high level in the NFL. However, he hardly ever got after the quarterback from a two-point stance and was instead asked to play different positions across the Bulldogs’ defensive line. His lack of experience rushing the passer from a standup position earned him the ‘project’ label. Nevertheless, the Jaguars’ brass believed he was worth the top overall pick in the draft due to his upside, which is why they choose him over more polished prospects such as defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

Jaguars OLB Travon Walker has made strides in his rookie year

Walker started his rookie season with a bang, registering an interception and a sack against the Washington Commander in the opener. However, he hasn’t made many impacts plays since then and has only 2.5 sacks for the year.

On other hand, Walker logged a season-high four pressures against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9. And while his pass-rush win rate is among the worst in the league he’s put on display the ability to win matchups throughout the year.

Here’s another video of Walker showcasing his athleticism and hustle, via James Johnson, formerly of USA TODAY Sports.

General manager Trent Baalke showed the San Francisco 49ers the ability to draft defensive line talent, so there’s a reason to believe Walker can become a difference-maker and the Jaguars would be thrilled if he could have a strong second half of the 2022 season.

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