AFC Notes: Travon Walker, Jaguars, Texans, Titans, Malik Willis


Jaguars’ No. 1 overall pick DE Travon Walker was excited to get his first action at the NFL level in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Raiders. 

“I hadn’t hit an opponent in a while,” Walker said, via ProFootballTalk. “It was definitely an exciting feeling. It was my first one, but plenty more to come. It was exciting to be out there on an actual NFL roster, playing for an NFL team against other NFL players.”

Jaguars HC Doug Pederson was pleased with Walker’s performance and thinks he showed strong length, athleticism, and power. 

“I thought he was good. I think I saw, felt, could see his length, his athleticism, his power. He’s going to be a good player,” Pederson said.


  • Texans HC Lovie Smith called second-round S Jalen Pitre a “starting safety” and has done everything the team wants up to this point. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Smith is happy to have WR Phillip Dorsett (ankle) back at practice: “It’s good to have him back in the mix now. He has quickness. He makes people miss.” (Aaron Wilson)
  • Texans OT Tytus Howard tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, according to Aaron Wilson. Howard is expected to return to practice next week. 
  • The Harris County District Attorney’s office dismissed charges against Texans running back Darius Anderson because of insufficient evidence, according to Mark Berman


Titans third-round QB Malik Willis arrived to the team’s rookie minicamp knowing he had a lot of work to do to get to where he needed to be. Willis explained that the team’s coaching staff had confidence that he would progress tremendously this summer.

They told me I would,” Willis said, via the team’s official website. “(Coach) told me to set an alert on my calendar. He’s like: First day of training camp and see where I’d be from the time rookie camp started. He was right, I’m light years ahead.

Willis has gotten more comfortable commanding a huddle while he works behind QB Ryan Tannehill. Willis also said that he’s been working on his timing, which is imperative in the NFL.

I’m light years ahead of where I was, but that’s just from my coaches and dedicating my time to study the situation,” Willis said. “That’s everything regarding my job description – operating the huddle, operating the line of scrimmage, all the plays and being comfortable with them. All of the above. I’ve learned the importance of timing, and how it affects the whole play.

Titans OC Todd Downing complimented Willis’s physical tools while explaining that he’s beginning to see the rookie put it all together. Downing wants Willis to fine-tune his technique and not rely so heavily on tangible traits.

He’s so physically gifted,” Downing said. “And I think sometimes when you have those tools you can get away with things at the collegiate level, and I think he is starting to find out some of those tight-window throws, or if you’re a little bit late on something, you can’t necessarily just make up for it with ball speed. The DBs are going to close that window a little bit faster. So, there’s a development there, right? And there’s a dependency on physical tools that sometimes needs to progress to more of the footwork and listening to your feet and letting your feet redirect your eyes and those kinds of things. But Malik is on a good trajectory. He’s had some learning experiences out there, but he’s a great kid with high character who comes in and wants to know the why and wants to understand what occurred with the mistakes. I’m excited about where he’s at.

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