Travon Walker rocketed from key component of a fierce Georgia defense to the likely No. 1 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2022 NFL Draft after dazzling scouts at the combine.
Jacksonville is expected to kick off Thursday’s event in Las Vegas by taking Walker, a defensive end who didn’t start his first college game until 2021. A few months ago, he was a long shot at best to go first — now he’s the betting favorite (-425).
Walker — a player with more potential than highlight-reel plays — will be expected to help turn around the fortunes of an anemic Jaguars defense.
- The Jaguars finished 30th in the NFL in tackles (1,067), 28th in points (26.9), and 27th in sacks (32) and pass yards (227.9).
- Walker recorded 37 stops — 7.5 for loss — with six sacks and two pass breakups while starting all 15 games for the 2021 national champions.
- At the combine, the 6-5, 272-pounder wowed scouts with a blazing 4.51 40-yard dash – faster than 12 wide receivers.
If he’s taken No. 1, Walker is projected to receive a $41.5 million contract — including a $27.3 million signing bonus — under the NFL’s rookie slotting system.
After selecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence with 2021’s No. 1 pick and giving him a four-year, $36.8 million rookie contract, the Jaguars are poised to bolster the other side of the ball, pairing Walker opposite Pro Bowler Josh Allen on the defensive line.