JACKSONVILLE – For Walker Little, normal is relative.
That's because very little has been "normal" for the Jaguars' rookie offensive tackle in the last couple of years. Injuries and a pandemic have ensured that much.
Still, when it comes to football – and how he feels physically – the 2021 second-round draft selection likes where he is on that front.
"I feel back to normal now," Little said.
Little, the No. 45 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft, joined senior writer John Oehser on this week's O-Zone Podcast. He discussed multiple topics, including potentially making his second NFL start Sunday when the Jaguars (2-13) play the New England Patriots (9-6) at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
With Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson among 25 players on the Jaguars' reserve/COVID-19 list – and with multiple offensive linemen on the list – Little is expected to start if healthy.
"It's a great opportunity, a chance to play against a great defense with great pass rushers," he said. "It will be a great test as an offensive line and a great test for me personally."
He also discussed his final two years at Stanford University, years that included a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2019 and a 2020 season lost because of COVID-19. Little, widely projected as a Top 10 selection before the injury, last played a full season in 2018 – his sophomore season at Stanford.
"If there's one thing it's taught me it's just, 'Be where your feet are' and 'control what you can control,'' Little said. "The team's kind of dealing with that right now. We've had a lot of guys go down with COVID recently. That's what we're preaching to each other, to control what you can control and all you can do is your job to the best of your ability."
And Little said not only is he back to normal physically, being healthy and active the entire season has given him a normal feeling overall.
"I'd say before getting drafted and joining the Jaguars, it definitely was weird not having played in so long," he said. "Because of COVID [in 2019], we weren't really able to have a normal team atmosphere [at Stanford]. I missed just being around a team. That's weird for someone who has been playing football and been around football teams since I was a little kid."
"Since I've been back, it has been back to normal. I obviously haven't been the starter this year, so I haven't been able to play in as many games as I would want to. But I've practiced against great players every day and have a great coach in [Jaguars offensive line] Coach [George] Warhop."
"I feel like I've gotten a lot better this year and learned a lot."
To hear the entire O-Zone Podcast with Little, click HERE or view it below.