ESPN’s Mel Kiper just dropped his latest mock draft and the senior draft analyst has the Chargers reinforcing the trenches on the defensive side with a new name many of you may not have seen paired with the team up to this point.
With the 17th-overall pick, Kiper has the Bolts selecting defensive end Travon Walker out of the University of Georgia. Walker goes before two other of his UGA teammates in linebacker Nakobe Dean (Raiders) and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt (Bills). Fellow Bulldog Jordan Davis did not make it into the first round of Kiper’s mock.
At 6’5 and upwards of 280 pounds, Walker is a built like a perfect 3-4 defensive end for today’s NFL. He possesses a rock-solid build and an extremely physical style of play that takes no prisoners in the run game.
As I mentioned in my debut mock draft, the Chargers still haven’t fixed their years-long issue defending the run, as they ranked 28th in the league in yards per carry (4.8),” says Kiper. “If you’re looking at a void to fill for a team that is right on the edge of playoff contention, this is a way to do it. The 280-pound Walker could be an ideal fit for L.A.’s 3-4 defense because he’s a good run defender who also has some pass-rush ability. He’s not a two-down player like his former Georgia teammate Jordan Davis; I think this is too high to take a nose tackle with a low ceiling for sacks. Walker had six for the national champs in 2021.
While Walker is not going to be seen as an uber-flexible pass rusher, the guy wins with intense effort and brute strength. He certainly subscribes to “the quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line”-school of thought.
Speaking of effort, take a look at this play below. Walker likely saves a touchdown on this play if he doesn’t decide to haul a** down the field to make the stop.
Tremendous effort by DL Travon Walker #44. If he doesn’t make this play, it might be a TD and Alabama has the lead going into halftime.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 11, 2022
275-pounders shouldn’t be able to move like #44. 1st round talent, 1st round effort. pic.twitter.com/R8mRX7xJNs
How about another eye-popping video?
In this edition of “Damn, he’s a dog...”, check out how Walker takes on the winners of this past year’s Joe Moore Award (nation’s best offensive line).
Normally on counters such as this, that first lineman coming through has his ears perked up at the thought of potentially teeing off on an unsuspecting defender who shot too far upfield. In this case, Walker brings the absolute wood against the pulling guard and knocks him off his platform before snatching the running back at the line of scrimmage. If you needed a prime example of how Walker could help the Chargers’ run defense, look no further than this.
Joe Moore Award winner vs Travon Walker pic.twitter.com/9N1aR7vakC— Jon Tweets Sports (@jontweetssports) January 1, 2022
In three seasons at Georgia, Walker played in 29 total games. He finished his career with 61 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, an interception, and three pass deflections. He capped with off his career with a six-sack, 7.5 tackle-for-loss campaign where he led all Georgia defensive lineman with 36 quarterback hurries and 56 percent of defensive snaps played.