Walker gained steam throughout the pre-draft process as a member of the class’ deep edge rusher pool. One month before the draft, though, he was named as a candidate for the Jaguars to be selected first overall. Even at that time, many still believed the team would lean towards the more known commodity in Aidan Hutchinson, or look to bolster their offensive line by choosing either Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu.
One day before the first round, Jacksonville signed left tackle Cam Robinson to an extension, a move which took the latter two prospects out of consideration. By that point, Walker had become the favorite for the top pick, having been identified as an attractive blend of size and athleticism for general manager Trent Baalke. While there was a reported disagreement between he and owner Shad Khan on the Walker-Hutchinson debate, Baalke ultimately landed his preferred option.
Across three seasons at Georgia, Walker flashed his potential as a disruptive force against both the pass and the run. His final season was his most productive, as he totalled 33 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, along with six sacks. The contrast between those numbers and those of more accomplished pass rushers like Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux were weighed against Walker’s perceived ceiling and the limitations placed on him in the Bulldogs’ highly-talented defense.
As a result of being the top pick, Walker will earn a fully-guaranteed $37.4MM over four years. The deal also includes a $24.4MM signing bonus. In Jacksonville, he will look to pair with 2019 first-rounder Josh Allen as the focal points of a re-vamped defensive unit.