Top pick Travon Walker learning to be patient in transition to NFL

Jaguars edge rusher has immense physical talent, learning the game from Josh Allen

Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker (44) performs a drill during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Since Travon Walker arrived in Jacksonville, he’s been a dominant sight to see.

The No. 1 overall pick went through OTA’s in June and has been impressing his teammates and coaches all summer. This week, Walker has been getting his feet under him during training camp.

“I feel like I’m picking up speed much quicker now,” Walker said. “Learning different terminology and executing it on the field has made me much more comfortable these past two days.”

Defensive end Josh Allen has taken Walker under his wing this offseason, and the two have been inseparable all summer. The duo has formed a strong bond off the field, which will ideally transition to gameday.

“I’m grateful to have Josh. He’s very young, and he’s been in my shoes before,” Walker said. “He’s a unicorn because of how special he is on the football field.”

Allen had a fantastic rookie season for himself in 2019, finishing the season with a team-leading (and franchise rookie record-setting) 10.5 sacks. Allen also had 44 tackles and two forced fumbles. He was also named to his first Pro Bowl.

Tuesday, he said that rookies like Walker must take after his work ethic.

“I try to lead by example. I want to be one of the best players in the NFL,” Allen said. “If he wants to be the best, then come follow me. We’ll get better together.”

Allen arrived on day one of his rookie year and has always been one of the hardest workers for the Jaguars. He’s known for always being the last player to leave the field.

He said he sees the same competitive drive in Walker.

“He wants to be a great smart-minded player,” Allen said. “He’s a physical freak, and he’s going to dominate on Sundays,”

Allen and Walker got to train with five-time Pro Bowler and NFL champion Robert Mathis this offseason.

Walker said the biggest advice he received was to be patient.

“Everything will come over time. Once I start to realize the small things and the way I’m moving, it will tie together,” Walker said. “I’ve always focused on my hand-eye coordination, so I need to wait and let my speed work for itself.”

The Thomaston, Georgia native has transitioned from multiple positions at the collegiate level to exclusively as an edge rusher since he joined the team during rookie minicamp.

Walker lined up at Georgia across the entire defensive line, where he logged 37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and six quarterback hurries.

The Jaguars think the transition will help him find his true potential.

Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell said Tuesday that Walker has been adjusting to his new position nicely.

“You could see how good of a player Travon was on film, but after having him around for three months, they see how good a person he is and how impressive his work ethic is,” Caldwell said.

The Jaguars and Walker will be suited up in pads for the first time Sunday as they prepare for their Hall of Fame game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 4.

The anticipation for Walker to get the pads on has been eating him up. He hasn’t been in pads since the College Football National Championship game in January.

“First couple days of camp have felt great, but I really can’t wait to get the pads on,” Walker said. “I want to hit someone.”

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