Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Travon Walker wasted no time making an impression in his first NFL recreation.
Walker, the No. 1 total choose on this yr’s NFL draft, performed solely two collection in his group’s 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at Tom Benson Corridor of Fame Stadium on Thursday night time, however he recorded a sack and had one other strain in what he says was only a glimpse of what he’ll finally be capable to persistently do for years.
“It was positively thrilling, simply to be on the market on an NFL roster, on the market on an NFL group taking part in with different NFL gamers,” Walker mentioned. “One thing that I’ll at all times bear in mind [will be] my first snap.”
That’s when Walker first flashed a few of the causes the Jaguars elected to take him over extra confirmed pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson, who went second to the Detroit Lions. He bull-rushed Raiders left sort out Brandon Parker and received to quarterback Jarrett Stidham as he launched the ball. Sadly, Walker received his hand up round Stidham’s neck and received flagged for roughing the passer.
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Head coach Doug Pederson referred to as it one of many quite a few instructing moments Walker will expertise as a rookie.
“There’s timing points once you [rush] quarterbacks and hitting quarterbacks and when you may hit quarterbacks and all this type of stuff, and it’s simply going to come back from simply watching it, studying from it,” Pederson mentioned. “You by no means attempt to decelerate his athleticism and energy that approach, however he’ll study from it and do higher.”
He realized fairly shortly, apparently. Walker — who mentioned he was dissatisfied he wasn’t in a position to get the sack on his first snap — received Stidham on the Raiders’ subsequent possession, this time grabbing Stidham round his midsection and pulling him to the bottom for a 3-yard loss.
“It was positively an thrilling feeling,” Walker mentioned. “It was my first [sack] however, like, lots extra to come back.”
That’s what the Jaguars are hoping for, and it’s one of many the explanation why they drafted Walker, a 6-foot-5, 272-pound former Georgia defensive lineman. Walker had solely 9.5 sacks in his three seasons with the Bulldogs, however he performed primarily inside. The Jaguars have moved him to exterior linebacker. They really feel he can thrive there due to his dimension, size, velocity and energy.
Walker had been spectacular in one-on-ones in coaching camp, however his lack of expertise as an out of doors pass-rusher has left him poor in pass-rush strikes and counter-moves. These are issues he’ll must develop over the course of his first few seasons, however for now he’s going to depend on his velocity and energy as a lot as he can.
It was efficient towards the Raiders, at the very least.
“I assumed he did some actually good issues,” Pederson mentioned. “There have been some early good, fast cross rushes in there. He’s very disruptive. He confirmed his size, athleticism, his energy. He’s going to be enjoyable to look at all season.”
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