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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

Utah LB Devin Lloyd has been a very productive inside linebacker for the Utes. What would he bring to the pros?

Devin Lloyd, LB

Height: 6’3
Weight: 235 lbs
Class: RS-Senior
School: Utah


A former three-star recruit out of Chula Vista, California, where he attended Otay Ranch High School. Lloyd was the 160th recruit in California during the 2017 cycle, and he was recruited as a safety. Lloyd will be in attendance for the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Notables

He finished his four seasons at Utah with 65 pressures, 15.5 sacks, 256 total tackles (150 solos), 43 tackles for a loss, eight passes defended, five interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns. His senior season was wildly productive with four interceptions (2 for touchdowns; Stanford and Oregon PAC-12 Championship), 111 tackles, 22 for a loss, 31 pressures, seven sacks, and six passes defended.

Lloyd was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 2020 & 2021 while being a consensus first-team All-American in 2021. He earned the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year Award. Lloyd used his final year of eligibility to return to school and try and win a championship for him and his teammates. He had the production and tape to be drafted last year.

His versatility was on display in his final two years. In his senior season, he played 129 snaps at EDGE and 702 in the box as a linebacker while also aligning 15 times as a slot defender. Lloyd was also a skilled wide receiver and punter in high school. Lloyd was a team captain in 2020 and 2021.

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Strengths

  • Excellent size and length for the position - long-limbed
  • Good overall athlete (despite some stiffness in some situations)
  • Possesses solid sideline to sideline speed (very desired in today’s NFL)
  • Great linear burst and explosiveness
    • Can scoot downhill in a hurry
  • Good short-area quickness, combined with upper body movements (swats, shoulder dips, sheds) to better position himself around blockers in the box (when he diagnoses the play well)
  • Solid overall processing inside the box
  • Takes good angles to the point of contact when moving laterally and in space
  • Stays square to targets when scraping over the top of trash
  • Good in pursuit with good overall acceleration
  • Very aware in coverage occupies the middle of the field and adapts to routes in his vicinity. Passes routes off effortlessly with eyes on the quarterback in zone drop
  • Has solid man coverage ability (some lower-body stiffness may affect him against shiftier players)
  • Fancy ball skills (incredible interceptions against Washington State and Stanford at the LOS)
    • Concentration and hands are impressive
  • Versatile player, active on the EDGE (although this will have to be situational at the next level)
  • Had a solid array of pass-rushing moves with solid overall employment (inside spin, chop/rip)
  • Great leader on and off the field
    • Was constantly communicating and positioning his fellow defenders

Can Improve

  • Love his length, but he is lean for a linebacker
  • Has stiffness when changing direction in tight quarters
  • Ankle flexion as an EDGE is adequate at best
    • Fails to bend through contact at top of the arc
  • Solid overall run defender, but one that isn’t perfect and needs refinement
  • Adequate reactive quickness when diagnosing in the box
  • Hands aren’t consistently active when stacking & shedding near the line of scrimmage
  • Can get engulfed by blockers when he’s late to see them
  • Isn’t always in the ideal position vs stretch run plays (can overpursue and under pursue due to hesitation)
  • Three straight seasons with double-digit missed tackle percentage
  • Not the most efficient tackler vs downhill runners when he’s offset
  • Despite highlight hits, he is not a dominating physical presence at the second-level
  • Won’t consistently set the edge against NFL tackles
  • He may have to start his career as a sub-package linebacker who can do anything in passing situations

Summary

Overall, Devin Lloyd’s length, versatility, coverage ability, and solid nature inside the box suggest he has the potential of being a solid three-down linebacker in the NFL. His processing in the box and in coverage can be used to any defenses’ advantage. However, I wish he was a more secure tackler who consistently used his hands inside the box to keep himself clean.

There are several plays on film where he does this very well, and others where he gets engulfed by climbing OL - it’s not consistent and needs work. His ball production in 2021 was exceptional, and I appreciate the versatility of playing on the EDGE, albeit it may be challenging to maintain that style on the EDGE.

Lloyd’s frame and production have caused comparisons to Dallas’ Micah Parsons. I believe that to be unfair and more based on Lloyd’s college usage. Lloyd has the chance to be an impact player in the NFL, but Parsons’ unique ability to step into the NFL and be one of the better defenders will be challenging to replicate.

Ultimately Lloyd will more than likely be drafted in the first round; his week in Mobile can certainly assist that hope (I expect him to have a good week). My grade is a little lower than consensus, but that doesn’t preclude Lloyd from succeeding in the right defensive system. He may not be destined for a traditional MIKE role right out of the gate, but a WILL 4-3 or an OLB with solid upside in sub-packages due to his coverage and blitzing ability isn’t unfair to imagine.

GRADE: 6.3


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