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Travon Walker: "Truly a blessing…"

Travon Walker Article_Day 1

JACKSONVILLE – The newest member of the Jaguars put it simply and succinctly.

"It's truly a blessing to be in this position," he said.

That position:

No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, the position Travon Walker officially held Thursday when the Jaguars used the selection on the versatile outside linebacker from the University of Georgia.

Walker's selection, which came shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday, capped a pre-draft process in which he developed from a potential Top 10 selection in February to the No. 1 overall selection – and also capped what Walker called "a nerve-wracking" final 24 hours leading to the draft.

"I'm definitely prepared for it," Walker said during a Thursday videoconference with local media. "Being the No. 1 pick, I have to say there are a lot of expectations behind it. But I'm one … it's just a game of football for me.

“I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing, giving my all to the game of football because that’s something that I love to do – and not make it any more pressure on myself than it should be.”

Walker, increasingly been projected as the No. 1 selection in the days leading to the draft, opted against attending the draft in Las Vegas and instead watched the event with family and friends at an Atlanta hotel.

"I'm not big on media – and coming up on the draft, of course there's going to be a lot of media," he said. "Just these last 24 hours, I've been with my family this whole time. I'm just enjoying this time and this moment with my family. I feel like being around my family – that's the main goal for me.

"I'm going to keep the main thing the main thing. That's my family, to be able to spend the last couple of hours with them before I get ready to lock in for work."

Walker (6-feet-5, 272 pounds) started all 15 games this past season for the national-champion Bulldogs, registering a career-high six sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss with 37 tackles. He was projected as a potential Top 10-to-15 selection shortly after the season, then impressed scouts and observers during the Scouting Combine earlier this offseason by running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash with a 35.5-inch vertical leap and a 10-feet, three-inch broad jump.

"I'm the type of person to just control what I can control," Walker said. "That moment … it was the combine, so I just attacked the task at hand and did what I was supposed to do. Everything worked out how it should, and everybody started to realize how good a player I can be and how good a player I was in college."

Of draft analysts wondering about teams judging him more on his combine performance than his on-field production, Walker said: "I'm not the type of person to entertain things like that. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, so I can't be mad at them for having their own opinion."

Walker said he sensed he might be the No. 1 selection when he visited the Jaguars on a "Top 30" visit earlier this month.

"There was just something special – a bond between me and the coaches and the general manager," Walker said. "That's when I was really feeling it."

Walker said coaches told him to "just be the ballplayer I can be and I've shown to be."

Walker – a Southeastern Conference All-Freshman selection in 2019 – played 36 games with 15 starts in three seasons at Georgia, registering 9.5 sacks and six pass breakups with 65 total tackles and 13 tackles for loss.

"Something that's always stuck with me is just, 'Be where your feet are,''' Walker said. "You can't do more than what you're expected to do. For me, it's just, 'Go and handle my business and do what I've been doing. Don't make it any bigger than it's supposed to be.'''

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