Fall 2022

Travon Walker drafted No. 1 overall to Jaguars, says God is No. 1 reason he made it to NFL

There wasn’t nearly as much certainty around this year’s No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, but once again it was the Jacksonville Jaguars who held the coveted selection. They bolstered their defense Thursday night by selecting Georgia defensive end Travon Walker, who joins last year’s unquestioned top pick — quarterback Trevor Lawrence — as the team starts a new chapter with head coach Doug Pederson.

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Walker skyrocketed up draft boards following his impressive performance at the combine in March. He expressed gratitude to the Jaguars organization when he met with the media Thursday night from Atlanta, where he watched the draft with friends and family.

“This is a great feeling, just for Jacksonville to give me the opportunity,” Walker said. “It’s something that I’ve always prayed for ever since I was 7 years old. It’s truly a blessing to be in this position.”

Most experts believed Jacksonville was choosing between Walker and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who went second overall to the Detroit Lions. Walker told reporters he came away from his visit with the Jaguars weeks before feeling confident about his chances of going No. 1.

“There was just something special — a bond between me and the coaches and the general manager,” he said. “That’s when I was really feeling it.”

While Walker felt good about the relationship he built with the Jaguars, debate and uncertainty surrounded the pick until the moment his name was called. In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm earlier this week, Walker discussed how he was handling the possibility of Jacksonville selecting him.

Ultimately, he surrendered the situation to God.

“No one knows where they’ll end up just because you don’t know what people upstairs — GMs, things of that sort — [are thinking],” Walker told Edholm. “A coach may like you a lot more than the GM may like you, so you never really know how it’s going to play out. So I just leave it all in God’s hand.”

 

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The Thomaston, Georgia, native played 36 games over three seasons for the Bulldogs. He recorded six sacks and 32 quarterback hits in 15 appearances in 2021. Walker saved one of his best showings for last, producing a sack and seven quarterback hits in Georgia’s 33-18 win over Alabama in the national championship game.

Four of Walker’s teammates were taken later in the first round, making Georgia the first program to have five first-round picks on the defensive side of the ball. Bulldogs defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has known Walker since he was 10 and believes any concerns about Walker’s lack of statistical production or late ascendancy are completely overblown.

“There’s not a single red flag,” Muschamp said. “He’s the real deal now.”

Earlier on Thursday, Walker posted a video on his Instagram account in which he identified the top three things that have helped him get to the NFL.

“No. 1 would have to be God. Without God I wouldn’t be in this position that I am today,” he said, before also mentioning his family and his dedication to football.

 

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A post shared by Travon Walker (@ytw_44)

His social media pages include multiple references to his faith. He also has a Bible verse tattooed on the inside of his right bicep — Matthew 19:26, which says, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”

 

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A post shared by Travon Walker (@ytw_44)

Jacksonville added Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd with the 27th overall pick and currently own the 65th and 70th overall selections at the start of the third round. The second and third rounds take place Friday night with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

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