JACKSONVILLE – Travon Walker did what was expected as a rookie.
He started and played a key role. He contributed to the Jaguars' 2022 AFC South title run in a big way. Most importantly, he developed.
"It was a growing year, and this year was basically just getting a feel of things for real," he said recently, adding: "There's plenty more to come."
Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke called Walker's 2022 "a season of growth."
"He did a lot of nice things," Baalke said.
Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, started 15 of 16 games played as a rookie and finished fourth on the team with 3.5 sacks and fifth with 10 pressures. He registered 49 total tackles with five tackles for loss, a forced fumble, two passes defensed, and an interception.
"There are a lot of ways to influence a game," Baalke said. "Travon, you saw him do it, whether it be the run or the pass, he had an impact this year – and it's only going to get better from here."
Baalke added, "You're always looking at young players. Usually, that step between Year One and Year Two is the biggest jump these guys have as players."
Walker, speaking two days after the Jaguars' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff, talked mostly of team goals and performance. Asked about his biggest offseason focus, he said: "Switch it up within the game just like veteran players, offensive linemen, did to me."
"I always know I could be a dominant player without question," Walker said. "It's just a fact of me knowing the ins and out of football. You have to really know the game of football once you're playing against such savvy guys. There's a lot of these veterans in the league.
"It all goes from just little small inches to little mental things that you have to go through within the game of football that you have to take in and understand."
A look at the rest of the Jaguars' 2022 rookie class:
- Devin Lloyd, inside linebacker, Utah, Round 1 (No. 27 overall). Lloyd started 15 of 17 games played as a rookie, and was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month for September. He finished second on the team with 115 tackles, tying for the team lead with three interceptions and registering eight passes defensed. Lloyd, who started both postseason games, had two fumble recoveries and two quarterback pressures. Lloyd was replaced in the lineup by fellow rookie Chad Muma for two games in late November and early December. "You saw flashes of it early, had a little bit of a lull there," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "In college, he was a sort of an outside backer type, an on-the-ball linebacker, where we're asking him to play off the ball. It's a different game and there's some communication there, but I thought the time where Chad went in and played a couple of games really helped him. When he came back, things began to kind of slow down. He started understanding things a little bit more, and he's only going to improve."
- Luke Fortner, center, Kentucky, Round 3 (No. 65 overall). Fortner started all 17 regular-season and both postseason games and "has a chance to have an outstanding career in the National Football League," Baalke said. "He's highly competitive, he's smart, he's tough. He has the size and skillset to be a very good player in this league for a long time. To come into this league and play in the middle of the offense, play the center position with all that mentally goes into playing that position and to do as well as he did, is a credit to him. The work that he puts in … he's a pro's pro at a very young age. For him to step into that role and excel the way he did, I think the future's very bright."
- Muma, inside linebacker, Wyoming, Round 3 (No. 70 overall). Muma played in 15 of the regular-season 17 games played, starting two and registering 37 tackles – three for loss – with five passes defensed and one-and-a-half sacks with three pressures. He played both postseason games.
- Snoop Conner, running back, Mississippi, Round 5 (No. 154 overall). He played in eight games, rushing 12 times for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also played in the Divisional Playoff loss to the Chiefs.
- Gregory Junior, cornerback, Ouachita Baptist, Round 6 (No. 197 overall). He spent the first 14 games of the regular season on the practice squad, playing in one regular-season game with six tackles. He was inactive for the two postseason games.
- Montaric Brown, cornerback, Arkansas, Round 7 (No. 222 overall). He played in eight games, starting one, and registering five tackles. He was inactive for the two postseason games.
- De'Shaan Dixon, outside linebacker, Norfolk State (collegiate free agent). He played in three games, registering a tackle and playing on defense and special teams. He was inactive for the two postseason games.
- Kendric Pryor, wide receiver, Wisconsin (claimed off waivers from Cincinnati in August). He was inactive in 14 games and did not play. He was inactive for the two postseason games.
Take a look back at some of the best moments with the Jacksonville Jaguars Rookie Class for the 2022 Season.