The Jacksonville Jaguars made Travon Walker their No. 1 draft choice on Thursday.
Walker, a former Georgia standout, will be expected to bolster the defense immediately and help the team get back to what it once was on that side of the football. He ended his career with a national championship before he declared for the draft. In 13 games in 2021, he had 33 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. He started to move up draft boards as the draft approached.
The defensive lineman could be one of the highest-paid rookies in the NFL once he signs his contract. According to Spotrac’s projections, Walker is expected to sign a four-year deal worth about $37.3 million, with a $24.3 million signing bonus and fifth-year team option.
The total value of the deal would surpass the contract his new teammate Trevor Lawrence signed when he was selected No. 1 overall last season. Lawrence agreed to a four-year, $36.7 million deal with a fifth-year option. He received a $24.1 million signing bonus.
Walker told reporters Friday during his introductory press conference that being just a four-hour drive from where he lives in Georgia to Jacksonville meant a lot to him and his family.
"[It’s a] four-hour drive. It really means a lot to me because I know my mom, she doesn’t like getting on planes, flying, so she’ll be able to make that drive really easy. And I know how she is, she always wants to be on to me so now I’m a momma’s boy," he said.
Walker added he’s been really close with Lawrence since they were in high school.
"I’d have to say I’m pretty close with Trevor Lawrence. I’ve known him ever since high school, so I feel like he’ll be somebody who takes me under his wing," he added. "I came on my top-30 visit, he was working out, he ran up to me, so I just feel like we already have that bond. I have Tyson Campbell here as well to help me."