The Jacksonville Jaguars own the number one pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s why it would be absurd to gamble on Travon Walker over Aidan Hutchinson.
This is certainly one of those “don’t overthink it” moments for the Jaguars. In the past, we have seen Jacksonville botch some pretty elite draft capital. However, they have a chance to take the cake with this one.
Recently, Georgia defensive end Travon Walker has been gaining steam and there have been whispers that he could be in play for the Jaguars with the number one overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. While I like Walker’s upside, straying from the plan would be a colossal mistake.
For most of the past three months, Aidan Hutchinson has been the player frequently mocked to Jacksonville — and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to needing another quality edge defender across from Josh Allen on one of the NFL’s worst defenses, Hutchinson is the consensus top player set to enter the NFL Draft.
With Hutchinson, Jacksonville would be getting a fiery, violent pass rusher with outstanding production at Michigan and great physical traits. Not only does Hutchinson have an extremely high floor, but the sky is the limit to the player he could be in the NFL, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he developed into a top-five edge defender at the next level.
Jaguars should not consider Walker
Because of these things, Jacksonville shouldn’t even entertain the thought of selecting Travon Walker with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Though the tools are terrific, there are so many things that should scare teams away from considering him this early.
For starters, Walker had extremely little production during his three years at Georgia. While this could partially be due to the many roles he was asked to play and gap assignments he took on, it’s more than a bit concerning to come away with just 13.0 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks in three seasons.
On the other hand, Hutchinson earned 16.5 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks in 2021 alone, via Sports Reference. This is in addition to being a Heisman Trophy finalist and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Travon Walker also has some pretty unspectacular tape. Despite testing numbers at the NFL Combine that put even Myles Garrett to shame, Walker doesn’t play as well as he tested. As a pass rusher, he can be stiff and doesn’t play with great leverage, and he rarely seems to be around the football. Walker recorded just 61 total tackles in three years (1.9 per game played).
The answer for the Jacksonville Jaguars truly is right in front of them in Aidan Hutchinson and they can’t afford to mess this up. Even if Travon Walker turns out to be a much better player in the NFL than he was in college, taking him with the first overall pick is not a gamble worth taking.