Last month Jacksonville made Georgia’s Travon Walker the top pick in the NFL Draft. The selection caught some by surprise, being that for most of the NFL’s offseason, former Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was widely regarded as a shoe-in for the first overall pick.
The reason for the Jags’ not so unanimous selection – potential.
Walker’s college production trailed that of Hutchinson’s, but Jacksonville projects Walker as being the better player long-term. “For us, it was the potential. The upside. The things that we saw,” Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson told Rich Eisen during an appearance this week on The Rich Eisen Show. “As coaches, we’re privy to a lot of film and a lot of conversations that a lot of people don’t get.”
Last fall, Walker had 7.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks for the National Champion Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Hutchinson tallied 14 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss while finishing second in the Heisman voting.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 12, 2022
The discrepancy in stats between the two edge rushers did little to sway the Jags’ thinking. “We just felt at the time and even sitting here today that the best for our organization was Travon Walker,” added Pederson. “And that’s nothing against Aidan. I think he’s a great player and he’s going to have a great career in this league, but for us, we got to make a decision and we made it.”
Pederson and the Jags will get an up close look at their upside-filled rookie when Walker and his teammates report for rookie minicamp today. “Love everything about Travon,” said Pederson. “We get him in here this weekend for our rookie minicamp and we’re excited to go to work with him.”
Per Thursday’s NFL schedule release, Walker and the Jaguars’ first chance to unleash their potential will come on Sunday, September 11th, when they open the season at Washington.
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