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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Georgia EDGE Travon Walker

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Georgia EDGE Travon Walker

6-foot-5
275 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.54 — certain first-round pick; immediate-impact prospect

Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

TL;DR scouting report

Ascending talent with raw power, freaky athletic traits and ideal length, but Walker's pass-rush effectiveness remains an area in which he must develop

The skinny

A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 34 nationally) in 2019, Walker committed to Georgia over Alabama, Clemson and other big-name programs. As a true freshman, he played in 12 of 14 games and earned a role on the Bulldogs' talented defense. In 2020, Walker played in nine games as a rotational defender again. But in 2021, he broke out in a big way with six sacks, a fumble recovery and 7.5 tackles for loss in 15 starts on Georgia's three-man front. He declared for the 2022 NFL draft after the Bulldogs' national title victory over Alabama.

Georgia's Travon Walker had a great national championship game in the win over Alabama. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Georgia's Travon Walker had a great national championship game in the win over Alabama. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Upside

  • Unreal combination of size, power, athleticism and agility

  • Raw, untapped upside that only started to manifest itself last season

  • Still only 21 years old and just beginning to scratch the surface

  • Great length at 6-5 with 35 1/2-inch hands and 10 3/4-inch hands

  • Tested through the roof at NFL combine: 4.51-second 40-yard dash, 35.5-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-3 broad jump, 6.89-second 3-cone drill, 4.32-second 20-yard shuttle

  • Can line up from a 3-technique to a 9-technique on the line

  • Occasionally stood up as spy or dropped into short zones

  • Edgy, energetic play style will win over coaches

  • Strong hands to shed blockers and make hay

  • Good edge setter vs. the run — takes pride in it

  • Beat the tar out of a few tight ends and disrupted blocking schemes

  • Generates power to speed as rusher

  • Flashes a nasty push-pull move to dispatch offensive tackles

  • Excellent bull rusher who plays through blockers and can take them for a ride

  • Stepped up as pass rusher following suspension of Adam Anderson

  • Terrific national-championship game performance vs. Alabama, generating multiple pressures and chasing down WR Agiye Hall 25 yards downfield to potentially save a TD

  • Special-teams experience — asked to run down kickoffs in 2020, rare for a nearly 280-pounder

Downside

  • Limited experience — fewer than 1,000 defensive snaps in three years

  • Fair to wonder about his stamina — only three games with more than 47 snaps

  • Tank was close to E in both Bama games in 2021 when asked to play extended snaps

  • Rudimentary pass rusher now — needs considerable work on technique

  • Poor hand work often leads to unsuccessful rushes

  • Understands leverage but can be knocked off his path easier than you'd like to see

  • Some lower-body tightness

  • Plays with straight legs at times — needs better knee-bend

  • Could stand to churn his legs better through contact

  • Lateral quickness doesn't quite equate on tape as it did in combine workout

  • Lots of single-blocking matchups playing on world-class defense

  • Versatility might not quite translate in NFL as it did in college

Best-suited destination

Ideally, Walker will go to a team where his pass-rush expectations can be limited early on. He's a valuable energy piece up front who can help a team's run defense immediately, and in time he should develop third-down prowess. Although he might not be a complete player yet, Walker has sky-high athletic potential with the right growth and cultivation.

Did you know

Walker, whose birth name is Yury, was a star basketball player in high school, too, who averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game as a senior at Upson-Lee High School (Thomaston, Ga.).

Player comp

Reminiscent of Rashan Gary, who felt like a reach with the 12th pick but has ended up playing up to that draft position once his pass-rush ability became more refined and developed.

Expected draft range

Top-10 pick with a shot at the top overall selection