5 Jaguars players who vastly improved their play after slow start to the season

• Some Jaguars players had an impact right out of the gate this season. Others needed a bit of time to hit their stride, including the 5 on this list.

Oct 29, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars guard Brandon Scherff (68) blocks
Oct 29, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars guard Brandon Scherff (68) blocks / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Travon Walker, OLB

The Jaguars were under heavy scrutiny for drafting Travon Walker with the first overall pick last year. Had they gone with the more NFL-ready Aidan Hutchinson, or an offensive tackle such as Evan Neal, they wouldn't probably have received as much criticism. The fact that Hutchinson had a good rookie season while Walker was somewhat of a non-factor in 2022 made the decision look much worse.

But that's the thing, the Jags knew that selecting Walker wasn't going to produce immediate results. Having played with his hand on the ground at college, he switched to outside linebacker full-time in Jacksonville. While the former Georgia Bulldog had a sack and an interception in the opener, he was unremarkable at times during his rookie campaign. Heck, one of his best games came when the Jags let him play in a three-point stance.

Early in Year 2, Walker wasn't much of a game changer but he's progressively gotten better. While Josh Allen is (rightfully) getting most of the spotlight, the sophomore pass rusher is low-key having a good season. Of course, you probably expect bigger things from the No. 1 pick but Walker has made steady progress. Meanwhile, Hutchinson, Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu, all of them in play with the top pick last year, have failed to take a step forward this season.

You could argue that Hutchinson's production is more or less on par with Walker's and you would be right. That said, Walker continues to improve while Hutchinson hasn't shown nearly as much growth compared to last year. Although the jury is still out on Walker, he's done enough to make you think he can turn into the dominant pass rusher the Jaguars expected when they drafted him. For the time being, he should get the benefit of the doubt.