The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the season expecting more from bookend pass rushers Josh Allen and Travon Walker. While the duo was productive last year, they still had room for improvement. Fast forward to Week 17 and Allen and Walker have combined for 25.5 sacks between the two with a game to go. Jaguars legend Tony Boselli knew the duo was special, making a prediction before the start of the season that turned out to be right.
Boselli believed Walker and Allen were capable of tallying 25 sacks between the two. This led Jaguars alumnus Tom McManus to jokingly say that he was taking Ayahuasca. Fast forward to Week 17, and the duo has surpassed Boselli's original prediction.
Allen had been one sack short of tying Calais Campbell's record for sack in a season for a few weeks. He at last managed to tie him, and later break the record against the Carolina Panthers. Not long after, the former Kentucky Wildcat registered his third sack of the day, giving him 16.5 for the year. Walker was also faring well, recording two sacks, nearly tripling his total from 2022. Roy Robertson-Harrison also registered a sack in Week 17, giving the Jags six in total.
On a day in which the Jaguars showed out, Walker's sack totals for the season and Allen's franchise record stood out. On the other hand, Travis Etienne also had a productive day, toting the rock 16 times for 102 yards with two touchdowns. While C.J. Beathard didn't throw a touchdown pass, he avoided big mistakes and did a good job of distributing the football. That was more than enough the help the Jaguars get their ninth win of the season.
Josh Allen and Travon Walker give the Jaguars a dominant pass rush tandem
A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Josh Allen had previously shown that he could play at an elite level. However, he hadn't been able to put it all together in previous years, having productive stretches but also disappearing at times. This season though, Allen has been the Jaguars' best player on defense, routinely delivering big plays when called upon.
The former Kentucky Wildcat entered the season needing to prove himself, something he acknowledged. It's fair to say that he's at last become that game-changer the Jaguars expected when they drafted him seventh overall.
Walker, for his part, was under scrutiny for having a relatively quiet rookie campaign. That said, the Jags knew it was going to take him some time to hit his stride. After all, Walker was making the transition to outside linebacker full-time after mostly playing with his hand in the ground at Georgia. With a full season to get acclimated, the former Bulldog has been able to put his talent on display.
It's true that Walker needs to keep developing but the Jaguars should be pleased with the growth he's had this season, especially in the second half. On the other hand, Allen has done enough to get that multi-year extension the Jaguars wanted him to earn in 2023.
The Jaguars are getting lots of production from Walker and Allen this season. Moving forward, they will only get better. Next, the team's brass needs to round out their rotation.