The proof is in the pudding for Jaguars OLB Travon Walker
Public votes of confidence from coaches and teammates aside, there is more good news: actual evidence of development for Walker's pass rush:
That's a nice play by Walker even though he doesn't get all the way home. He uses a nice little inside dip to split the tackle and guard and affects the play.
Unfortunately, this was his only impact play. The rest of his snaps were a collection of patty-cake games with the tackle and half-hearted efforts at chasing down plays from the back side.
If Walker wants to wear a gold jacket one day, his effort and production must have coaches, teammates, fans, and himself expecting the effort seen above on every play, not just once in a while.
Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson will forever be linked
Fair or not, Travon Walker will be compared with Aidan Hutchinson for his entire career. Hutchinson, taken one pick after Walker in the 2022 Draft, was known to be a much more polished product coming out of college.
There are still many Jaguars fans who would trade Walker for Hutchinson today, and that's understandable given the current evidence.
If Walker is going to change those opinions, he will have to start providing evidence that he is the better of the two players. Fortunately for him, he had an opportunity to do that in joint practice.
It helped that Jaguars rookie tackle Anton Harrison had a nice showing against Hutchinson in the same practice. Granted it's just two reps out of many, and in a practice rather than a game. It's likely Detroit fans are still confident in their guy.
The rush against Dallas and the practice footage against Detroit are not evidence that Walker is better than Hutchinson today.
Rather, they are small indicators that hopefully will add up to a future argument But, that future has to start soon. By the end of this year, Jaguars fans should be making the case that the best EDGE defender from the 2022 draft is in Jacksonville.
Better than Hutchinson, better than Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson, and just about everyone else who gets after the quarterback in the NFL. That is where the expectation should be set for Jacksonville's number one overall draft pick.