1. Jaguars OLB Travon Walker is aware of the expectations surrounding him
First-round draft picks are expected to contribute right off the bat. However, the Jaguars knew that Travon Walker was going to be a work in process when they made him the first overall pick last year. A highly athletic talent, Walker made the transition to outside linebacker full-time after hardly ever rushing the passer from a standup position in college.
The team's brass was aware Walker was going to need time to make the adjustment. And after a rookie season in which he flashed his potential, they're now expecting him to make a leap. Mike Caldwell said the former Georgia Bulldog is feeling more comfortable ahead of Year 2.
"He's the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, he was taken number one over everybody", Caldwell said. "So you can look at that as pressure but Travon and a bunch of guys in the looker, they've been the guy all their lives, so the pressure they're used to."
"But he understands now that I'm the guy, I'm the No. 1 pick but also Travon. I'm going to be Travon on the field, my Travon is good enough for the Jags because we trust in his ability and it's going to show and it'll pay big dividends for us," Caldwell said.
Caldwell then says it's time for Walker to live up to his draft billing.
"There's two things that go into it. He's the No. 1 pick and he's a rookie. So the rookie has to feel your way, and his personality, he's a real humble guy.... but at the end of the day, he's No. 1. So he should have that on his shoulders. He should be top dog and he plays like that in the run game. Now, it's time for him to play like that in the pass game, which he has all the talent in the world. We're ready for him to do it", Caldwell said.
Walke appeared in 15 games with 14 starts as a rookie. He registered 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and an interception. He should be able to double those numbers in 2023, now that the game has slowed down for him.