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We're less than a week from the start of the 2022 NFL draft, and we still don't know who the Jacksonville Jaguars will be taking with the first overall selection.
Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson might still be the favorite to be the first name called but don't count out Georgia EDGE Travon Walker, who told Yahoo Sports he believes he's in play for No. 1.
"Me personally, I do think I have a shot at being the first pick overall," Walker said Friday. "But it's a situation where no one knows where they'll end up. You don't know what the people upstairs, the GMs, things of that sort [are thinking]. A coach might like you a lot more than the GM likes you.
"So you never really know how it all plays out. I am just leaving it in God's hands."
Earlier this week, Jaguars GM Trent Baalke told local media that there hasn’t been much in the way of trade calls for the No. 1 pick and that he and the team currently are considering four players in that spot — prospects whose final team grades are apparently very close. It’s believed that Walker is one of those players they’re considering.
There perhaps has been no bigger riser in the pre-draft process than Walker, who helped the Bulldogs win a national championship, making several big plays in the title game victor over Alabama. Then Walker went to the NFL scouting combine and turned in a whale of a workout, seemingly changing his draft vector significantly.
Heading into the combine, Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal was the betting favorite to be picked first. Exiting Indianapolis, Hutchinson overtook the top spot — and was once a fairly sizable favorite. Now, not so much. According to BetMGM, Hutchinson currently sits as the -175 favorite, which gives him implied odds of about 63.4% to go first overall. Walker sits second at +140.
Walker's stats are not as beefy, with only six sacks last season compared to Hutchinson's 14. Hutchinson also had two forced fumbles and 16.5 tackles for losses, compared to Walker's zero forced fumbles and 7.5 TFLs.
Walker didn't play the same role as Hutchinson and was that good at the combine that it was impossible to overlook Walker's unusual skills, turning in exceptional testing numbers — at 272 pounds, no less.
"It definitely shined a light on the skill set I have," he said. "Just my versatility to be able to do a lot of things — move through the bags, quick feet, things of that nature.
Meanwhile, a source close to Hutchinson told Yahoo Sports earlier this week that they still believe come Thursday Hutchinson's name will be called first.
The way this wild offseason has gone, we perhaps shouldn't count out a third option being in play for the top overall pick. So the mystery lingers. In a draft class that lacks sex appeal, this is an interesting storyline that remains unresolved.