Sources: NFL teams doing more homework on in-demand pass rusher Travon Walker, a candidate for the top overall selection

    The Washington Commanders visited Travon Walker two days ago for extensive chalkboard work, according to a league source.

    Sources: NFL teams doing more homework on in-demand pass rusher Travon Walker, a candidate for the top overall selection

    University of Georgia defensive end Travon Walker is a coveted pass rusher prized for his rare combination of size, speed, and positional flexibility. That’s why NFL teams are continuing to do more homework on one of the most in-demand players on the 2022 NFL Draft circuit.

    Teams digging deeper on Georgia’s Travon Walker

    Georgia’s Walker was visited two days ago by the Washington Commanders for extensive chalkboard work, according to a league source.

    Walker visited every team with a top-six selection — the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets, New York Giants, and Carolina Panthers — as well as the Minnesota Vikings, who select 12th overall. The Commanders, who hold the 13th selection, wanted to schedule Walker for a visit but couldn’t work it out with his busy schedule and instead came to see him.

    Walker is one of the four players the Jaguars are considering for the top overall pick of the draft. The favorite to be selected first overall remains University of Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, according to league sources.

    Because Walker can line up basically anywhere on the defensive line or effectively operate from a two-point stance, he’s highly regarded by NFL teams.

    “Well that’s the fun part is listening to the coaches because every scheme is a little bit different, coaches use them a little bit differently,” Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said of Walker during a press conference. He also added that four players are under consideration for the top overall pick in a process he characterized as a work in progress.

    “So where does that guy fit in our scheme versus where he might fit in another scheme? That’s talked about a lot and you really leave that up to the coaches. You have a vision as a personnel guy where you think a guy could play or should play, and then you just give him to the coaches and you hear them out and that’s how you just kind of put the pieces together that way.”

    Drafting first overall for the second year in a row after picking quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Baalke expressed confidence that he won’t find himself in this same position next offseason.

    “I’m pretty confident that this will be the last time that I’ll be making the first pick,” Baalke said.

    Perhaps that will be the case if Baalke drafts Walker, a key figure on a national championship squad. Walker emerged as one of the fastest-rising prospects over the past year, propelling himself into the conversation for the first overall selection.

    Walker has rare traits that attract NFL teams

    Because of Walker’s athleticism and eye-catching plays within a strong team defensive concept, he’s in heavy demand. At 6’5″, 272 pounds, Walker ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, had a 35-inch vertical leap, a 10’3″ broad jump, and a 6.89 three-cone drill.

    In 2021, the Georgia native had 6 sacks and led the Bulldogs with 36 quarterback hurries.

    “Incredible upside with Walker,” an NFL executive said. “He’s an amazing athlete. Checks a ton of boxes for us. We love him.”

    A former 290-pound defensive tackle during his first two seasons at Georgia, Walker got down to 275 pounds and operated as a hybrid edge rusher and interior defensive lineman. He provides positional versatility, explosiveness, and the frame to add weight without sacrificing mobility.

    Simply put, Walker can do it all. He has lined up across the line of scrimmage. He has played outside offensive tackles’ shoulder, inside by the center, and even stood up and dropped back into pass coverage.

    Walker has exceptional lateral quickness and change-of-direction skills. He’s an impressive run-stopper who excels in pursuit. He has great arm length and a proven long-arm pass-rushing move. And his bull rush and speed-to-power capabilities are excellent, too.

    Walker’s path to the draft

    In high school at Upson-Lee, Walker led the basketball team to 71 consecutive wins and back-to-back state championships.

    An All-State selection in football, he also played running back and tight end. He was a blue-chip recruit ranked second overall in Georgia and third at his position nationally by most recruiting publications. He chose Georgia over competing scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, and Notre Dame, preferring to remain close to family.

    As a freshman, Walker had 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for losses, and 8 quarterback pressures. He was named a freshman All-SEC selection and the program’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

    As a sophomore, he had a forced fumble against Auburn. Last season, he finished with 37 tackles while playing a team-high 56% of the defensive line snaps. He was voted a team captain. For his career, Walker had 9.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and 65 tackles in three collegiate seasons.

    “He is a freak of nature when it comes to athletic ability for that size,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said of Walker. “I do not know how many years it will be before I coach a guy who is that big, that can run like that, and has really good stamina with great toughness and effort. I am really proud of what he is doing in terms of leadership for our team.”

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