1:02 AM ET
Michael DiRoccoESPN Employees Author
- Lined College of Florida for 13 seasons for ESPN.com and Florida Instances-Union
- Graduate of Jacksonville College
- A number of APSE award winner
Walker, the No. 1 total choose on this yr’s NFL draft, performed solely two collection in his workforce’s 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at Tom Benson Corridor of Fame Stadium on Thursday evening, however he recorded a sack and had one other stress in what he says was only a glimpse of what he’ll finally be capable of constantly do for years.
“It was undoubtedly thrilling, simply to be on the market on an NFL roster, on the market on an NFL workforce taking part in with different NFL gamers,” Walker mentioned. “One thing that I am going to at all times bear in mind [will be] my first snap.”
That is when Walker first flashed a number of the causes the Jaguars elected to take him over extra confirmed pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson, who went second to the Detroit Lions. He bull-rushed Raiders left deal with Brandon Parker and acquired to quarterback Jarrett Stidham as he launched the ball. Sadly, Walker acquired his hand up round Stidham’s neck and acquired flagged for roughing the passer.
Head coach Doug Pederson known as it one of many quite a few instructing moments Walker will expertise as a rookie.
“There’s timing points if you [rush] quarterbacks and hitting quarterbacks and when you possibly can hit quarterbacks and all this type of stuff, and it is simply going to come back from simply watching it, studying from it,” Pederson mentioned. “You by no means attempt to decelerate his athleticism and energy that approach, however he’ll study from it and do higher.”
He discovered fairly rapidly, apparently. Walker — who mentioned he was upset he wasn’t in a position to get the sack on his first snap — acquired Stidham on the Raiders’ subsequent possession, this time grabbing Stidham round his midsection and pulling him to the bottom for a 3-yard loss.
“It was undoubtedly an thrilling feeling,” Walker mentioned. “It was my first [sack] however, like, loads extra to come back.”
That is what the Jaguars are hoping for, and it is one of many the reason why they drafted Walker, a 6-foot-5, 272-pound former Georgia defensive lineman. Walker had solely 9.5 sacks in his three seasons with the Bulldogs, however he performed primarily inside. The Jaguars have moved him to exterior linebacker. They really feel he can thrive there due to his dimension, size, velocity and energy.
Walker had been spectacular in one-on-ones in coaching camp, however his lack of expertise as an out of doors pass-rusher has left him poor in pass-rush strikes and counter-moves. These are issues he’ll must develop over the course of his first few seasons, however for now he’ll depend on his velocity and energy as a lot as he can.
It was efficient in opposition to the Raiders, at the very least.
“I believed he did some actually good issues,” Pederson mentioned. “There have been some early good, fast go rushes in there. He is very disruptive. He confirmed his size, athleticism, his energy. He will be enjoyable to look at all season.”