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2022 NFL Draft: Why the Jaguars Traded Up For Utah's Devin Lloyd

Why did the Jaguars send three picks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Devin Lloyd at No. 27?

The Jacksonville Jaguars weren't satisfied with not taking part in one of the most trade-heavy first rounds in NFL history. They weren't content with walking away from the 2022 first round with just one high-upside defender. 

Instead, the Jaguars knew exactly what they wanted to do when the Dallas Cowboys took Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith at No. 24. And so put forth was a plan that ended with the Jaguars trading up to No. 27 overall and selecting Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd. 

"I think Coach and I looked at each other right around the Dallas pick, I think," Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said on Thursday night. 

"I think they were picking 24th or -- we talked about it a little bit before that, but when it got to Dallas and Dallas picked the center, Tyler Smith, the offensive lineman. When we got to that, we felt, okay, we've got a chance here, we picked up the phone and talked to Tampa.

The Jaguars traded the No. 33 pick, the No. 106 pick (fourth-round), and the No. 180 pick (sixth-round) for the No. 27 pick, taking Tampa Bay's spot in the first round and ensuring one of the draft's top linebackers would land in Jacksonville. 

"No, I generally don't -- when we offer, we try to just do a fair deal. So, there wasn't a ton of negotiating," Baalke said on Thursday night. 

"We presented an offer, they came back with a slightly different offer and we settled right in the middle. If you want the player, you want the player. It doesn't pay to try to win every trade. It was a fair trade for both sides. We were just fortunate they were willing to work with us."

And in doing so, they made sure they weren't victims of a linebacker run after Georgia linebacker Quay Walker went off the board to the Green Bay Packers at No. 22 overall.

The Jaguars were heavily tied to Walker throughout the draft process, with many seeing him as a favorite to be the selection at No. 33 overall. But with Walker off the board and a few teams with needs at linebacker such as the New England Patriots at No. 29, the Jaguars saw a chance to land a player they see as a perfect fit.  

"I'm not going to divulge the board, but obviously this was a draft where there was a certain number of guys that we had graded above the line and we were getting to the point where we needed to make a move," Baalke said. 

"This was something that didn't just happen. We were considering this going into the draft. So we were fortunate enough that it worked out, and Tampa got what they wanted and we got what we wanted.

Lloyd, a former safety, appeared in 47 games and started 32 for Utah after redshirting his freshman season. After collecting six tackles as a backup in 2018, Lloyd became a full-time starter in 2019. He earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 in 2019 after leading the team with 91 tackles, along with 11 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, three pass deflections, and one interception.

Lloyd was named a first-team All-Pac 12 member in 2020 as he started five games. The Utah team captain recorded 48 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, and one forced fumble, leading the team in tackles and tackles for loss.

Lloyd started 13 more games in 2021, being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Pac 12 as he recorded 110 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, eight sacks, 10 pass deflections and four interceptions.

"Well, I think the same thing we talked about with Travon, the versatility. He does a little bit of everything," Baalke said. 

"He can cover. He can rush the passer. He's very good against the run inside the tackle box and outside. So just a lot of versatility, and he's a culture setter. He's a great young man. He fits into what we're trying to build here, and we're looking forward to having him here."