JACKSONVILLE (Fla.) — The greatest criticism of the Jacksonville JaguarsThe decision to choose Travon WalkerThe reason Georgia's defensive end didn't produce the expected results was that it wasn't up to the standards of a No. 1. Overall NFL draft pick.
Walker and Jaguars both believe that this will change very quickly once Walker gets in camp and settles in to one spot rather than lining up at multiple spots every week.
“To all those who say I can't do it in a hurry or any other way. [or that]Walker explained Friday that while I wasn't as productive in Georgia, it was because I rarely played one position consistently. “I believe I will be able grow as an athlete if I focus only on one position. … It's thrilling because I have been moving around since high school. I played middle linebacker in highschool.
“I have never played just one position so people may say I don’t have a lot production. But once I get to train for one role, it will all come together.”
The Jaguars will need to help the Jaguars in this spot, which is likely to be near the edge. Over the past two seasons, the Jaguars had 50 sacks. This is less than any other team. Atlanta Falcons (47). Opponents were able focus on limiting the defensive end/outside-linebacker Josh AllenBecause no one on the opposing side has drawn any attention.
Trent Baalke, general manager of Walker's team, said Walker's versatility was a strength but that it did not prevent him from posting the kind of sacks that would be expected from a player like Michigan. Aidan HutchinsonLast season, he did (14). Walker spent 52% of his snaps at defensive end last season, but he also played outside linebacker and defensive tackle.
Walker has also been a nose tackle and tight end linebacker. He stated that he had told his coaches that he wanted to be on the field in any way possible and that he would be happy playing wherever he went.
Although the result was not impressive statistically, Walker did have six sacks and 37 tackles to help Georgia win last season's national championship. However, his 9.5 sacks are the lowest number of career sacks for a defensive linebacker. He went on to become a top-three draft pick ever since NCAA sacks became an official statistic. Walker is also the only player who was drafted first in the common draft to not be selected on an All-American or All-Conference college team.
Walker is expected to eventually play multiple positions in Mike Caldwell’s scheme. However, the Jaguars don’t want to make things more complicated for Walker. Walker will begin as an edge rusher, but they'll gradually increase their demands as Walker becomes more comfortable.
Doug Pederson, head coach said there's no timeline because it is important to get a solid foundation.
“We want Travon to be here in a few weeks for our rookie minicamp. This is our developmental program with rookies. It will really get them started on the philosophy and terminology of defense,” Pederson stated. As Travon said, “And as Travon mentioned, put him into one spot and let he grow in that spot. We have the flexibility to move him around, as long as he is able to understand what we are doing schematically and we grow together.
“It's all about getting him in there, getting him used to the teammates, getting him comfortable with the defense, and then solidifying one spot for him and allowing him the opportunity to grow in that position.”