On Thursday night, the 2022 NFL season officially began, as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders squared off in the Hall of Fame Game (here are our takeaways). That game also gave football fans their first look at No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker in a professional setting.
Walker picked up his first-ever sack for the Jaguars, pushing his way into the backfield and then bringing the Raiders’ Jarrett Stidham to the ground when he stepped up into the pocket to avoid edge pressure.
“It was definitely an exciting feeling,” Walker said of picking up the takedown, per ESPN.com. “It was my first [sack] but, like, plenty more to come.”
Walker’s new coach, Doug Pederson, seemed to be impressed with the play, and with the way Walker played overall on the evening.
“I thought he did some really good things,” Pederson said. “There were some early good, quick pass rushes in there. He’s very disruptive. He showed his length, athleticism, his power. He’s going to be fun to watch all season.”
However, Walker also picked up a roughing the passer penalty when he got his hand into Stidham’s neck and face area on another pass rush. It was a sign that Walker can get to the quarterback with his elite athleticism and traits, but also still has some work to do when it comes to refining his game.
“There’s timing issues when you [rush] quarterbacks and hitting quarterbacks and when you can hit quarterbacks and all this kind of stuff, and it’s just going to come from just watching it, learning from it,” Pederson said. “You never try to slow down his athleticism and power that way, but he’ll learn from it and do better.”