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Georgia’s Travon Walker Rising Up Board for Next Week’s NFL Draft

Betting Georgia's Travon Walker Rising Up Board for Next Week's NFL Draft
Apr 21, 2022 19:04Tim Ronaldson

When predictions for the top overall pick in the NFL Draft began this off-season, defensive linemen were at the heart of that discussion. One player who wasn’t mentioned at all, though, was Travon Walker from the University of Georgia.

Now, with only one week to go before the first round kicks of the three-day NFL Draft next Thursday, Walker has found himself as the second favorite to be selected first.

Will the Jacksonville Jaguars actually pull the trigger and select Walker first? It’s uncertain at this point. But, if they do, they could make some bettors very happy.

Walker Came Out of Nowhere

Walker, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end, had a solid career at the University of Georgia. In his junior season last year, he was one of the key cogs of the vaunted Bulldogs defense that helped lead the team to a national title.

Plenty of draft pundits were mentioning Walker as a possible solid draft pick at some point, but not many — if any at all — had considered him even a remote possibility to be the first player selected.

But, after some impressive pre-draft workouts this offseason, and some more time for scouts to watch individual tape on him, Walker now finds himself #2 on the list of betting favorites for the first overall pick, behind only Aidan Hutchinson, a defensive end from Michigan.

If you look at the stat line only, it would seem that Hutchinson is the far better choice. In his senior year at Michigan, he recorded 14 sacks, 62 tackles (36 solo, 26 assists), with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Walker, meanwhile, recorded 6 sacks, 37 tackles (19 solo, 18 assists), with no forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

But, scouts have fallen in love with the potential they believe Walker can bring to the table, as well as his game-changing and disruptive ability.

That’s what has led him to skyrocket up draft prediction boards, and odds boards as well.

When most sportsbooks first released lines for the top overall pick for the NFL Draft, Walker wasn’t even among those listed. When sportsbook began to add him, he opened with odds of 30-1. Now, those odds have gone all the way down to +140.

What’s more, BetMGM has reported that more money has been wagered on Walker to be the first overall pick than any other player.

Who Else is a Possibility?

The odds-on favorite is still Hutchinson, who has maintained his place in the discussion since the beginning of his final illustrious year at Michigan. His current odds to be picked first overall by the Jaguars next week are -170.

Behind him and Walker are two offensive tackles — Ikem Ekwonu of NC State at +1200 and Evan Neal of Alabama at +1400. Oregon’s Kevin Thibodeaux, another defensive end, currently ranks sixth on the list at +2500.

The first quarterback on the list is Malik Willis of Liberty. He has odds of +3000, but the only way he could realistically be picked first overall is if the Jaguars trade out of the #1 pick. That’s because last year, they picked the player who they believe will be their franchise quarterback — Trevor Lawrence from Clemson.

The next quarterback on the list is Kenny Pickett from Pittsburgh, who has odds of +8000 to be picked first overall, but obviously faces the same uphill battle as Willis does.

Intrigue is likely to build over the next week leading up to the first round of the NFL Draft. If Walker does indeed get selected first overall, it will cap a monumental rise up the rankings — and a huge boon for some bettors who supported him early on.

What do you think?

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Tim Ronaldson
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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