NFL Draft Rumors: Jaguars' Khan 'Leaning' Hutchinson; Baalke 'Infatuated' With Walker

Doric SamApril 27, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 01: Trent Baalke, general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

As the 2022 NFL draft quickly approaches, many believe that it's a two-horse race for the Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 1 pick between defensive ends Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker.

According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, there are dissenting opinions even within the Jaguars organization, with team owner Shad Khan "leaning toward" Hutchinson while general manager Trent Baalke "seems to be infatuated with Walker."

The Jaguars are picking No. 1 overall for the second straight year. They selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence in 2021, and now they have another chance to bolster their roster with a top prospect. But if Jacksonville hopes to eventually develop into a contender, it can't miss with this pick.

For the majority of the predraft process, Hutchinson had been considered the player most likely to be selected first. But Walker shot up draft boards thanks to his eye-popping measurables and a strong showing during the NFL Scouting Combine.

Hutchinson recorded 62 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks for the Michigan Wolverines last season, earning consensus All-American honors. The B/R NFL Scouting Department describes him as "the high-floor type of edge-rusher whom teams dream of."

Walker's production didn't come close to Hutchinson's, as he notched 33 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and six sacks for the national-champion Georgia Bulldogs. But scouts grew enamored with him after he ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash and measured at 6'5" with a 7'0¼" wingspan. He was also deployed more as a run-stopper than a pass-rusher for the Bulldogs, which helps explain his low sack total.

Whichever direction the Jaguars decide to go, it appears that both Hutchinson and Walker are destined to become productive NFL players.