It has been widely assumed to this point that the Jaguars will take Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aiden Hutchinson with that pick. From a production standpoint, Hutchinson appears to be one of the most prolific defensive end prospects that we have seen in some time, racking up 14 sacks this past season.
However, it appears now that it may be a bit more complicated than that when it comes to Jacksonville’s decision with the first pick. Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager talked about the Jaguars’ situation Monday and said that the team may decide to go in a different direction, specifically with Georgia defensive end Travon Walker instead of Hutchinson.
“Everyone thinks the Jaguars will take Aiden Hutchinson,” said Schrager. “But I keep hearing over and over again that GM Trent Baalke has a history of taking the athletic specimen over the “sure thing” prospect.” Who is that in this draft? It’s Travon Walker out of Georgia.”
"Everyone's inking Aidan Hutchinson to the @Jaguars. Around the NFL, there's talk about GM Trent Baalke, and his draft history with SF. Year after year, the 49ers took players with incredible physical traits over the top collegiate performers. That's Travon Walker." — @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/WbxFkH6W9B
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) April 11, 2022
Schrager also noted that when Baalke was the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, he selected players like Aldon Smith, Deforest Buckner, and Terron Armstead, all raw explosive athletes who were less polished, over more complete prospects at the time.
NFL insider Mike Garafolo backed up Schrager’s claims, saying that he has also heard that Baalke sees Walker as a player comparable to Aldon Smith and that they could be interested in him at the No. 1 spot.
More Travon Walker to #Jags at No. 1 chatter, this time from @PSchrags. I’ve heard the chatter Trent Baalke sees a lot of Aldon Smith in Walker. We’re 17 days away from Baalke and the Jags making their decision… https://t.co/yUOY24iYL2
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 11, 2022
Walker did not put up the stats that Hutchinson did in his college career, only totaling 7.5 sacks last season at Georgia, but flashed raw athleticism and was a big part of the vaunted Georgia defense that helped win a national championship.
It would be a big surprise if Hutchinson fell very far in the draft, but this could certainly be something to monitor in the coming weeks with the Jaguars’ decision looming.