With a season under his belt and a full understanding of what it takes to make it in the NFL, Devin Lloyd is readying himself for whatever is needed of him.
The second-year linebacker participated in the veteran part of minicamp this week, and his readiness and eagerness to learn during camp has not gone unnoticed by his coaches.
“That is why he is here,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters on Wednesday. “You need to learn, continue to grow and he has done a nice job.”
Lloyd, the 27th overall pick last season out of the University of Utah, got off to an extremely hot start to his career.
Through his first three games, Lloyd snagged two picks and 24 total tackles. He was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Month in September when he led all rookies in tackles.
Towards the middle parts of the season, fellow rookie Chad Muma started games ahead of Lloyd, before Lloyd was inserted back into the lineup for the team’s final seven contests including the postseason.
When the 2022-23 campaign concluded, Lloyd finished second on the squad with 115 tackles and tied the team lead in picks with three.
As dynamic as Lloyd showed he can be, he struggled at times with getting to his right spot in coverage and reacting to plays.
But from where he was by the end of last year to now, the improvement in ability is visible.
“You can see the increase,” defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell said. “He is playing faster out there. It is starting to slow down for him. He is anticipating. He is playing real, real well for us right now.”
Lloyd logged 926 defensive snaps last season, all at the linebacker position.
He was not asked to rush the passer much at all, as evidenced by his zero sacks and zero tackles for loss.
However, at Utah, Lloyd logged 43 tackles for loss over the course of four years. His TFL numbers are fourth-most in Utah football history. He also logged 16.5 sacks.
Clearly, when put all together and comfortable, Lloyd can be a disruptor not only at linebacker but also when attacking the line of scrimmage.
When he was drafted, general manager Trent Baalke said it was because Lloyd can do a little bit of everything, and do it well.
“He can cover. He can rush the passer. He’s very good against the run inside the tackle box and outside,” Baalke said.
With how practice has gone thus far for the team, and the development both mentally and physically for Lloyd, Jaguar fans might be seeing more of the linebacker down on the line of scrimmage.
“I’ve seen this offseason, putting him in a couple different positions,” Pederson said. “Still want to keep him off the ball, but he is a good edge rusher too in different packages in what Mike (Caldwell) wants to do defensively.”
Having Lloyd and Muma at camp all offseason, especially considering Lloyd missed much of last year’s camp and preseason with an injury, can only help the young linebacker evolve into what he was when he finished his career in Salt Lake City.
“You want them to get as many hours as they can to see things over and over again,” Caldwell said. “So now, when they see it, they are able to anticipate it and understand what they are supposed to do. Those guys are accepting that and showing their leadership.”
Every snap that Lloyd, and Muma, takes is a step in the right direction. Learning from a guy like Foye Oluokon does not hurt either.
If things are looking as bright as they are said to be, there is no telling where Lloyd may end up on defense next year.
“The more he understands the defense as a player, the more we can use him in different spots,” Pederson said.