No. 1 biggest X-factor for the Jaguars in 2023: Travon Walker, EDGE
Throughout the offseason, cornerback and pass rusher have routinely shown up as two of the Jaguars' biggest weaknesses. While there are many young players that could ultimately rise and bolster the cornerback position, there aren't many options when it comes to giving the pass rush a huge boost.
Outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah has gotten lots of rave reviews and has been dubbed a potential steal after being drafted in Round 5 in May. However, there's a chance he and fellow rookie defensive lineman Tyler Lacy might need time to develop before they can contribute. Similarly, outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, a 2020 first-round pick, hasn't done much over the last three years and might be running out of time in Jacksonville after having the fifth-year option on his rookie deal declined earlier this year.
That leaves outside linebacker Walker Little as the Jaguars' pass rusher with the best chance to make a huge impact. Having drafted Trevor Lawrence in 2021, Jacksonville had no need for a quarterback last year, so they used the No. 1 overall pick on Walker, who was seen as a talented yet raw prospect coming out of college.
Walker played several positions for the Bulldogs but he rarely rushed the quarterback from a two-point stance and having to make the switch to standup linebacker full-time was always going to take a while. The Jags were perfectly fine with that though, and let Walker make the adjustment during his rookie season. With one year of experience under his belt, expectations for him should and will be considerably higher in 2023.
Working in his favor is that the Georgia native will have a full offseason to prepare. Last year, he had to deal with interviews, meetings, and everything that came with being one of the top prospects in the draft. Now, he can fully work on his draft. If he makes a huge leap and lives up to expectations, he and veteran outside linebacker Josh Allen could form a fierce bookend duo.