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Travon Walker had a message for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night after he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Walker, a former Georgia standout, will be expected to bolster the defense immediately and help the team get back to what it once was on that side of the football.
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“I’d first like to start off with thanking the whole upstairs organization, owner, the GM, the coaching staff, everybody for giving me this great opportunity, and I promise you, you won’t regret it. I’m ready to work, though,” Walker said.
He added that the last 24 hours were a little “nerve-wracking.”
“These last 24 hours for me, I can’t say – it’s kind of been a little nerve-wracking just from all the media. I’m not big on media, and coming up on the draft of course there’s going to be a lot of media,” Walker said. “I’m a guy that was talked about a pretty good bit. But just these last 24 hours I’ve been taking it in, trying to spend my time with my family this whole time. I’m just enjoying this time and this moment with my family.”
High expectations and the notion that every veteran in the league will be looking to put the No. 1 pick in his place will be one of the things Walker has to deal with in 2022. He was asked about the best advice he’s received about how he will be able to handle all of that.
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“Something that’s always stuck with me is, be where your feet are. You can’t do more than what you’re expected to do, so just handle my business, do what I’ve been doing and don’t make it any bigger than it’s supposed to be,” he said.
Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke and coach Doug Pederson also detailed what they saw in Walker and what made him their top pick.
“He played all the way up and down the line of scrimmage, anywhere from a zero technique all the way to a seven technique,” Baalke said. “Played in the two point off the edge, which he’s going to be used a lot in our scheme. That versatility, ability to stop the run, rush the passer, there’s a lot of work to do, but there’s a lot of talent to work with.”
Pederson said it was about some of his measurables too.
“Just his athleticism, his length, his ability to bend the corner. The thing that you see with this guy is his versatility. He played all up and down the defensive line at Georgia,” Pederson said. “Just a tremendous kid. He’s going to be great for the locker room. Really, I think, for us, too, just getting him in here, getting him going as soon as we can, and I think getting him in one position and letting him really get good at one position, and that’s where we feel he’s really going to make the most impact for us.”
Walker was a standout defensive lineman for Georgia, ending his career with a national championship before he declared for the draft. In 13 games in 2021, he had 33 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. He started to move up draft boards as the draft approached.
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Walker will line up near linebacker Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson as well as Malcolm Brown, Foley Fatukasi and Roy Robertston-Harris.