Travon Walker, Georgia DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Georgia DE Travon Walker is garnering first overall attention in the 2022 NFL Draft, but does his scouting report warrant that interest?

Travon Walker is the epitome of an ascending 2022 NFL Draft prospect. A catalyst in the national championship-winning Georgia Bulldogs defense, their versatile defensive end prospect has seen his stock gradually rise during the season. However, it’s the insane testing performances that quantified Walker’s on-tape athleticism that has seen him garner attention as a potential first overall pick. Does Walker’s scouting report live up to the hype?

Travon Walker NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive End
  • School: Georgia
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 272 pounds
  • Wingspan: 84 1/4″
  • Arm: 35 1/2″
  • Hand: 10 3/4″

Travon Walker’s Scouting Report

One Georgia defensive tackle has already elevated himself into the upper reaches of the interior defensive linemen class in the form of Jordan Davis. Currently, it projects as one of the weaker positional groupings. Meanwhile, the EDGE class is growing in strength with every passing week. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, and George Karlaftis have all earned top-10 recognition in various mock drafts.

Walker is an interesting addition to the above-listed contingent. For the first two seasons at Georgia, he was a 290-pound defensive tackle. For his junior season, he dropped to 275 pounds and played both as an edge rusher and interior defensive lineman. While we’ll refer to him as a defensive end in his scouting report, Walker blurs the lines between what is possible at both positions.

Strengths

His long, 6’5″ frame means he can comfortably carry a substantial weight gain without any detriment to his athletic ability. If the NFL wants him as a traditional 300-pound defensive tackle, you better believe that the Georgia man can. He could just as easily succeed as a 275-pound pass rusher off the edge, either as a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside backer.

From that perspective, Walker offers valuable versatility as an NFL Draft prospect. He’s taken snaps across the defensive front. From outside end all the way inside to 1-tech, Walker has seen it all and succeeded. Furthermore, Georgia had him stand up and drop back into coverage at times.

That should tell you everything you need to know about his athletic ability but indulge me. Walker is explosive off the snap. He has excellent lateral agility, allowing him to cut from outside to the interior in the blink of an eye.

Watching him effortlessly jump from the B-gap to the A-gap in one seamless movement is a joy to behold. Furthermore, his lateral agility allows him to scrape across the line easily, making him dangerous against the run.

Against the run, Walker showcases tremendous speed in pursuit. He also puts his long levers to use tackling from behind. It’s almost impossible for a ball carrier to escape his clutches when he latches his long arms around them.

Walker’s arm length is evident at the point of attack. Amongst multiple pass-rush moves, he routinely displays a long arm that helps him manipulate offensive linemen. His strength is evident at the point of attack, too. He drives even the sturdiest offensive linemen backward with a potent initial punch and routinely walks his blocker back into the quarterback.

Areas for improvement

Walker offers some frankly mind-blowing athletic upside as a 2022 NFL Draft prospect. Combined with his versatility, power, and leadership, he makes for an exciting and exceptional prospect. However, not all that glitters is gold. There are some areas for improvement from his scouting report that force us to pump the brakes a little.

While Walker has some pass-rush tools in his bag, he can seek to add further weaponry to his arsenal. Equally important is the ability to combine moves with a solid pass-rush plan. At present, if Walker fails with his first move, he doesn’t come preloaded with a counter.

Additionally, there are some improvements to be made with hand usage at the point of attack. The timing and placement of his initial punch can be off, decreasing his chances of success.

Furthermore, as a pass rusher, Walker needs to ensure he lands cleanly when tackling. Although it wasn’t an ongoing issue, there were examples of him failing to secure a sack as the QB evaded his grasp. For someone with his length, you’d expect him to consistently wrap up in this situation.

Walker’s Player Profile

Although he might be considered a late riser in the 2022 NFL Draft class, Walker is no stranger to being at the top of the tree at any level of football. In fact, his athletic prowess has penetrated into other arenas as well. At Upson-Lee High School, he helped lead the basketball team to 71 consecutive wins and back-to-back Class 4A titles.

However, it was his performances on the gridiron that garnered the most attention. Impressive as a sophomore, Walker earned first-team All-State honors after a junior campaign where he tallied 37 solo tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. A disruptive defensive force from multiple spots across the front seven, Walker showcased his unique athletic ability by also lining up at tight end and running back.

As a result of his junior performances, Walker earned preseason first-team All-USA recognition ahead of his senior season. More importantly, however, the versatile superstar was a high-profile recruit. A five-star prospect, Walker was the second-best player in Georgia and third-best defensive tackle in the 2019 recruiting class per 247 Sports.

Walker draws significant college attention

Unsurprisingly, he drew the attention of the major college programs. Offers flooded in from Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, and Notre Dame. However, the Thomaston, Georgia native wanted to remain close to home, as he explained to dawgnation.com at the time of his commitment.

“I knew I would be happy at Georgia. I want to come back and give back to my community.”

Before departing for Athens, Walker still had a little to give to the community in his senior season. Although the team went 7-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs, Walker put in some outstanding performances. Those included a game against West Laurens, where he tallied 11 tackles while catching 2 touchdowns and running in for another.

Walker’s career at Georgia

Although this year’s Georgia defense will go down in history, the Bulldogs have been a consistent producer of NFL talent on that side of the ball. As a result, players are often rotated and find it difficult to play substantial time early in their careers.

Despite this, Walker saw action in 12 of 14 games during his freshman season. While his production may not be headline-grabbing, he still logged 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 8 quarterback pressures. Furthermore, he also contributed on kick coverage as a 290-pound defensive tackle.

Walker was so impressive as a freshman that he earned a spot on the Freshman All-SEC team as voted by the league coaches. In addition to being recognized outside of Athens, he earned acknowledgment inside the program. Walker was named the Georgia Co-Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

While the 2020 season was disrupted, Walker was still disruptive. In three fewer games, he fell just 2 tackles short of his 2019 tackle totals. Additionally, Walker added his only sack of the season against Kentucky and logged the first forced fumble of his career against Auburn.

Walker became an exceptional talent in his junior season

However, the 2021 college football saw Walker elevate his NFL Draft stock to new levels. Slimmed down by 15 pounds, he emerged as a dangerous threat from across the defensive front. The junior defensive tackle has started all 10 games, kicking off his campaign with a sack against Clemson.

As the Georgia defense propelled the Bulldogs to a national championship, Walker was an integral part of that unit. Although his production might not be considered impressive next to other pass rushers in the class, the Georgia prospect set career-highs with 33 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks. Meanwhile, he demonstrated leadership ability as a team captain.

While he elevated his NFL Draft stock during the college football season, it has been the pre-draft process that has helped Walker fly up draft boards. Earning an invite to the NFL Combine, the Georgia prospect quantified his on-field athleticism with an explosive performance. Earning a 9.99 Relative Athletic Score, he posted elite grades for speed and agility, alongside great explosion scores.

As a result, Walker has earned consideration to be the first overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. While it might have seemed a long shot until relatively recently, sources confirmed to PFN’s Chief NFL Draft Analyst Tony Pauline that the Jacksonville Jaguars have interest in taking Walker first overall.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Travon Walker

Positives: Fast-rising defensive prospect who was a playmaker at the college level. Plays with a tremendous amount of agility as well as athleticism, makes plays in a variety of ways, and gives outstanding effort. Shows excellent discipline and awareness and stays with plays rather than just firing up the field to rush the quarterback.

Nasty, runs through blocks to get to the ball handler, and gives effort to stop the run. Moves well about the field, can drop off the line and play in space, and quickly gets to the flanks in pursuit. Bends his knees, plays with leverage, and immediately gets his hands up. Easily changes direction, can bend off the edge, and gets a lot of pressure up the field. Plays with balance and rarely gets knocked off his feet.

Negatives: Possesses a tall, thin frame and gets out-positioned from the action. Must develop more pass-rushing moves. Lacks a strong base and struggles against bigger tackles.

Analysis: Walker is an exceptional athlete who showed a lot of development in his game the past year and went on to have a phenomenal Combine workout. He possesses the frame to get bigger, comes with outstanding upside potential, and is a scheme-versatile defensive front-seven player just starting to hit his stride. As he physically matures, Walker should be an impact player at the next level if properly coached.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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