The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas aside, the 2022 NFL draft was unlike any we’ve seen. The twists and turns that took place during the first round simply couldn’t have been predicted.
Since the turn of the century, this year’s draft became only the sixth time that a quarterback didn’t go No. 1 overall. A quarterback didn’t even hear his named called until the 20th overall pick, which is the lowest since Jim Druckenmiller’s selection with the 26th overall pick in 1997.
The likes of Liberty’s Malik Willis, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral all fell outside of the opening frame. Instead, this year’s class has been defined by trench play.
The last two Super Bowls proved that teams must properly protect their quarterbacks and/or find ways to consistently rattle opposing signal-callers with pressure. As a result, prospects who affect quarterback play are more valuable than ever.
Follow along as Bleacher Report provides updates, analysis and grades for every single pick of the 2022 draft.
Travon Walker, DL, Georgia
Strengths: Premium athlete, versatility, sudden and violent, readymade run defender
Weaknesses: Nonexistent pass-rush plan, poor hand usage, inconsistent when disengaging from blocks
Courtney Brown, Mario Williams, Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett set the stage as the last four edge-defenders to hear their names called with the No. 1 overall pick. Travon Walker has now joined this select group.
The Georgia Bulldogs defense was so loaded with talent that Walker may have been the team’s fourth- or fifth-most discussed NFL prospect, even though he’s more physically gifted than anyone not named Jordan Davis among the group.
Walker’s raw data is staggering.
The 21-year-old prospect stands 6’5″ and weighs 275 pounds with 35½-inch arms. At that size, Walker posted a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, 35½-inch vertical, 10’3″ broad jump, 6.89-second three-cone drill and 4.32-second short shuttle. He finished top-four among defensive ends in the 40-yard-dash and both change-of-direction drills.
To better understand just how athletic Walker is for a man of his stature, consider that he posted the second-highest relative athletic score of any defensive end since 1987, according to Pro Football Network’s Kent Lee Platte.
Typically, a prospect profile requires more detail than just athletic testing. In this case, Walker’s raw upside drives his value, because his combination of size, wingspan and movement skills are rare. To his credit, the defensive lineman does play with a certain level of viciousness. He simply needs to put it all together by honing his craft and improving his techniqu
Only 9.5 career sacks is scary, thoug
“Testing-wise, he’s better than Myles Garrett,” an anonymous defensive coach told The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. “He’s a freak and he is aggressive. With Myles, we didn’t really know how much he wants to set the edge against the run. His motor was up and down. This guy is an animal. He was playing on such a loaded team, but when the production isn’t really there, it does kind of scare you
The Jaguars are clearly banking on Walker’s potential. The physical tools are special. The next step is harnessing those capabilities and getting them to consistently translate to the fiel
As a system fit, Walker should excel in Mike Caldwell’s scheme. It’s similar to the one Georgia employed. The new No. 1 overall pick can line head up on an offensive tackle or even in a 4i. The versatility is part of the reason he topped the boar
Yet the continued questions of whether Walker will ever become a game-changer as an edge-rusher can’t be overloodd.”h.e.e overlooked