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Jaguars Rookies Share Their Impressions of No. 1 Pick Travon Walker

What do Devin Lloyd and Luke Fortner make of Travon Walker so far?

"Athletic freak."

"That is a bad man..."

The dozens of ways Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker has been described over the last few months more or less can be summed with the two quotes above.

Walker, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was heralded as one of the most athletic pass-rushing prospects ever. While there were questions about Walker's production at Georgia, there were never any questions about his athletic prowess and the simply rare physical traits he possesses. 

Those traits are the same ones that have been on full display to the Jaguars and their entire organization since Walker first stepped into TIAA Bank Field. And after last week's rookie minicamp, they are that much clearer to some of Walker's fellow rookies.

“Athletic freak. Obviously, you look at him and their defense also that you mentioned, they had ballers all over the place," Jaguars rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd said. "I knew everyone at that team was first of all well-coached and extremely athletic and I knew Travon was one of those guys that was special. Obviously, he went number one overall for a reason based off his performances.

"He’s right next to my locker. [He’s] just a real genuine dude. He’s just like he always says, controlling what he can control. He’s just a good person. You can tell that he’s a genuine guy.”

Walker and Lloyd are expected to be the next centerpieces of the Jaguars defense. After the Jaguars have seen a number of talented defenders leave the franchise in recent years, they are hoping their dual first-round pick defenders can change their trajectory. 

And so far, the way Lloyd sees it, Walker has been everything he and the Jaguars thought he would be.

“About what I expected, athletic freak," Lloyd said. 

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"He’s very powerful and he’s somebody who I’m glad I don’t play right and left tackle because that’s a bad man. It’s really fun to be out there with him and us pushing each other to get better.”

Walker had a successful first season at Georgia, earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2019 as he was named a co-winner of Georgia's Defensive Newcomer of the Year award. In 12 games, Walker finished with 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and one pass deflection while also contributing on kickoff coverage units.

In 2020, Walker played in nine games and recorded 1.0 sack, 2.0 tackles for loss, one interception, and one forced fumble. Walker then had a career season in 2021, starting all 15 games as Georgia finished the year as National Champions. During Georgia's title run, Walker recorded 6.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, one fumble recovery, and a team-high 36 quarterback hurries.

Walker then had arguably the best combine performance of any defensive player in 2021, measuring at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds but still running a 4.51 40-yard dash (98th percentile), a 36-inch vertical jump (80th percentile), 123-inch broad jump (87th percentile), 6.89-second three-cone (93rd percentile), and a 4.32 20-yard shuttle (76th percentile).

It was because of those traits that Walker was one of the toughest matchups in the entire SEC. Few defenders know this better than Jaguars' third-round center Luke Fortner, who saw extensive action against Walker and the Georgia defense during his career at Kentucky.

“Just incredible consistency at a high level. I think that’s the most important thing about Travon," Fortner said. 

Walker wasn't the only Georgia defender Fortner had to worry about. Georgia also had fellow first-round defensive linemen Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, along with future high draft picks in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith.

But Walker still stood out to Fortner in a big way. A way that, so far, has been the exact impression he has gotten from him.

"There were a lot of great players on the Georgia defense, but people like Travon who could do it every single play, that’s what separates him," Fortner said. 

"I think that’s what he’s going to bring.”