Early on in the draft process, Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson was the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick. As the draft got closer, however, Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker began rising up the board.
When the dust settled, the Jacksonville Jaguars elected to use the No. 1 pick on Walker.
While on The Rich Eisen Show this week, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson was asked about the team's decision to go with Walker over Hutchinson.
"There are two really good players there in both Travon and Aidan at the top of our draft board,” Pederson said. “Let’s go back a little bit. Obviously, Cam Robinson — our left tackle — we were able to get his contract done prior to the draft and keep him here. I think the sky is the limit with him. Solidifying our offensive line that way really kind of helped, too, in some of the decisions we made in the draft."
So, why did the Jaguars draft Walker? Pederson said they loved the Georgia product's potential.
"For us, it was the potential. The upside. The things that we saw. As coaches, we’re privy to a lot of film and a lot of conversations that a lot of people don’t get. A lot of information, and part of our job is to gain that information. We just felt at the time and even sitting here today that the best for our organization was Travon Walker. And that’s nothing against Aidan. I think he’s a great player and he’s going to have a great career in this league, but for us, we got to make a decision and we made it. Love everything about Travon. We get him in here this weekend for our rookie minicamp and we’re excited to go to work with him."
On Thursday, the Jaguars agreed to terms on a rookie deal with Walker.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the total value of Walker's rookie deal is $37.4 million. It includes a $24.4 million signing bonus.
Only time will tell if the Jaguars made the right decision choosing Walker over Hutchinson.