Top pick Travon Walker signs $37.4M rookie deal with Jaguars

No. 1 overall draft pick Travon Walker signed a four-year, $37.4 million rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, a deal that includes a $24.4 million signing bonus.

Walker’s contract is fully guaranteed and includes a team option for a fifth year, both standard for NFL first-round picks. He signed it one day before the Jaguars begin a rookie minicamp.

RELATED: Jags take ‘athletic freak’ Travon Walker with top pick in NFL draft

Fellow first-rounder Devin Lloyd, the 27th overall selection, also signed his rookie deal. He gets a four-year contract worth $12.9 million and a $6.6 million signing bonus.

Jacksonville signed five of its seven draft picks in all, including running back Snoop Conner (fifth round), cornerback Gregory Junior (seventh) and cornerback Montaric Brown (seventh).

RELATED: Jaguars re-sign veteran Adam Gotsis to back up top pick Travon Walker

Center Luke Fortner and linebacker Chad Muma, both third-round choices, remained unsigned.

Walker and Lloyd are among a dozen first-rounders from the 2022 draft under contract, including four of the first six selections. Walker will count $6.8 million against the team’s salary cap this fall.

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The Georgia pass rusher rose up draft boards following an impressive combine and landed in Jacksonville to play opposite 2018 Pro Bowl alternate Josh Allen.

The Jaguars chose the 6-foot-5, 272-pound Georgia native over Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson, who set a school record with 14 sacks in 2021 and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. The team later added Lloyd and Muma in hopes of improving a defense that ranked 20th in the league in yards allowed in 2021 and gave up nearly 27 points a game.

Picking Walker, though, wasn’t nearly the slam dunk that drafting quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 was a year ago. Critics argued that Hutchinson was the more polished product and pointed to Walker’s limited college numbers. He had 9½ sacks in three years in Athens, including six during last season’s national championship run.

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But Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke and coach Doug Pederson see a more versatile player in Walker, who logged snaps at defensive end, defensive tackle and outside linebacker in Georgia’s vaunted defense last fall. His highlights include more than sacks; he stops the run, tackles speedy receivers in the open field and tips passes that lead to interceptions.

He bided his time as a backup for two years with the Bulldogs and started to blossom as a junior. He started all 15 games in 2021, finishing with 37 tackles, including 7½ for a loss, and two pass breakups.

The Jaguars plan to take it slow with Walker, letting him learn the outside linebacker position before shuffling him to other spots along the defensive front.

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