The Jacksonville Jaguars had a clear plan for the 2022 NFL Draft — improve the defense. The Jaguars spent the No. 1 overall pick on Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker and also drafted two linebackers in the first three rounds with Utah’s Devin Lloyd and Wyoming’s Chad Muma.
Lloyd, whom the Jaguars traded up to get back into the first round for, was selected by Jacksonville at No. 27 overall and all signs point to him earning an immediate role. Lloyd helped lead the Utes to the program’s first-ever Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl appearance, but what exactly are the Jaguars getting in the Utah product?
We spoke to Shane Roberts, managing editor at Block U, SB Nation’s website for all things Utah Utes. He details Lloyd’s game, explains why he expects Lloyd to be a future captain in the NFL, mentions Lloyd’s versatility and more.
Our conversation is below.
1. What does Lloyd do well? What aspects of his game does he need to improve on at the NFL level?
Shane: He’s just so well-rounded and so smart, he rarely makes mistakes and has a tendency to make big plays. Go look at his interceptions this past season. He had a diving pick against Washington State, where he read and reacted to the play so fast. Same story with his interception against Stanford. He jumped at the line of scrimmage, plucked the ball out of the air and fell into the end zone for a touchdown. And lastly, his pick against Oregon in the conference title game where he baited the quarterback to throw the ball. He’s just so savvy.
He probably needs to improve his coverage skills, not because they’re lacking, but the guys he’s going to cover in the NFL with the pass-happy league will require improvement.
2. A big reason why the Jaguars wanted to trade up to get Lloyd was because of his character and leadership traits. What kind of leader was Lloyd at Utah, and do you expect him to eventually become a leader or captain in the NFL?
Shane: He was one of the captains that came back for an extra year to win Utah its first conference title. He could have left for the NFL a season ago, but he came back with a purpose. He helped drag Utah out of the 1-2 start this past season (2021) because of his leadership. I don’t think his leadership can be overstated at all. If he isn’t a captain in the NFL (at some point), I’ll be surprised because he has all the ingredients to make him great. He’ll force guys to work harder because of his desire to be great.
3. Another thing that stands out about Lloyd is his versatility on defense. How was Lloyd used in different ways at Utah, and what do you think is the best way to utilize him in the NFL?
Shane: He was used all over. He would blitz off the edge, sit back in coverage and help in run support. He’s big but not massive, so he’s still fast. He was a modern linebacker that was a Swiss Army knife for Utah. I think I’d use him the same way in the NFL. His speed and intelligence will make him so versatile in the NFL. He may struggle early on getting to the quarterback, but once he figures out the speed of the game and opposing offenses, he’ll be the quarterback of the defense.
4. What is your favorite moment or play from Lloyd during his career at Utah?
Shane: His pick-six against Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. He baited the quarterback on third-down-and-five to make a throw to the sticks, and once the QB threw the ball, it was over. That was the play that showed what kind of player he had become and that Utah would roll to its first Pac-12 championship.
5. Obviously you can’t predict the future, but as of right now, how do you see Lloyd’s professional career shaking out? What would you say is his ceiling and floor, if he is able to stay healthy?
Shane: His ceiling is a multi-year Pro Bowler. I’m biased and want to say he’ll be in Canton, but that’s not fair. He can be an All-Pro and make a massive impact where a team will build around him as the core. His floor would be a starter in the NFL. He’s just too smart with too much of a work ethic not to make an impact.
6. Is there anything else Jaguars fans should know about Lloyd on or off the field?
Shane: He loves his team and teammates and will be so good in the locker room. With the tragedies that the Utah football program had this past season, with two deaths on the team, he helped bring the locker room together and helped rally the crew. To this day, he still honors those teammates, and he’s very genuine. I’m sure after the fiasco of what Urban Meyer brought to Jacksonville a season ago, Lloyd will be a major breath of fresh air.
Thank you to Shane for providing great thoughts and analysis on Lloyd. Make sure to follow Block U on Twitter to keep up with all news regarding Utah athletics.