Devin Lloyd Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Prospect
Utah Utes, Linebacker
The offball linebacker position has changed tremendously in terms of what is needed to play the position at a high level in today’s pass happy NFL. Gone are the days of three linebackers being on the field for every play. The most important aspect of playing linebacker is no longer being tough against the run and delivering devastating hits. Now linebackers who hope to have every down roles must be able to cover consistently. The player we are taking a look at today, Devin Lloyd, projects to be someone who can do that at the next level.
This year’s crop of linebackers doesn’t have a prospect who is guaranteed to be selected in the top half of the first round. Lloyd could be one of the players who has a chance to be taken in that range. Standing at 6’3, weighing 235 pounds, Lloyd offers tantalizing size for a prototypical NFL linebacker. He could challenge the likes of Christian Harris for first backer taken in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Entering his redshirt senior season at Utah, Lloyd is a player NFL front offices will be watching for the 2022 NFL Draft. As one of the leaders on a tough Utah defense for the past two seasons, Lloyd had a choice to make. Would he forgo another season of college football and make the jump to the NFL? Ultimately, Lloyd made the decision to come back and be the leader of the Utes defense, and gain another year of experience. This year is off to a fantastic start with his performance in Week 1 against Weber State.
Devin Lloyd Player Profile
Coming out of Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, California, Lloyd was rated as a 3-star recruit and held one Power-5 offer: Utah. He played wide receiver and safety in high school, but the teams who recruited him knew his future would be on defense. Once Lloyd enrolled at Utah in 2017, the decision was made to focus on playing linebacker. His strong work ethic was put on display immediately. He weighed 215 pounds as a senior in high school, so he needed to bulk up to play linebacker in the Pac-12. He has packed 20 pounds onto his compact frame since then.
Lloyd’s career at Utah started slow, as many collegiate careers do. He redshirted his first season in 2017 and was mainly a special teams contributor in 2018. When he got his chance to take on a significant role on defense in 2019, he responded by starting all 14 games. Lloyd registered 91 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks with an interception. In the process, he earned honorable Pac-12 honors, which put a lot of people on notice for his 2020 campaign. You can find a his complete stats and accolades here.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 had other plans and Utah played 5 games as part of a condensed schedule by the Pac-12. Lloyd was able to show out, earning a first-team All-Pac-12 nod as well as being named a finalist for the Butkus Award. Lloyd put out 1.5 seasons of strong tape for NFL scouts to see, but he knew he had unfinished business. That is why he decided to come back for a final season at Utah. He can improve his draft stock, while also finishing up his college career playing an entire season with his squad.
Devin Lloyd Strengths
Lloyd is going to crush interviews during the draft process. He is a proven leader and has displayed a tireless work ethic that his coaches have publicly backed. As a teammate and competitor, he is what NFL teams are looking for. He also checks off the mental requirements needed to play the linebacker position. Lloyd is a strong pre-snap communicator who gets himself and his teammates into the right spots before the ball is snapped. He possesses strong instincts and can diagnose plays as they are unfolding. Lloyd has worked hard throughout his career to become better at reading and reacting. His tape shows that while improvements can be made, he has come a long way.
The Ute is an extremely versatile player, one who can line up on the edge, as a MIKE or a WILL. He is someone who can blitz numerous times throughout a game. Lloyd is also someone who can be depended on in space. If used correctly, he will be a chess piece for NFL defensive coordinators. He is also a high-effort player. Lloyd will always play to the whistle. There are no concerns over his motor.
He is a strong athlete with a body that stacks up to NFL linebackers today. He is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who moves well laterally. Lloyd is explosive when asked to blitz and when he must come up on ball carriers. He plays with no fear and is willing to risk his body to make the play. In coverage, Lloyd is considered above average for a linebacker. His interception and passes defensed statistics show that. He isn’t someone who will have to come off the field on passing downs.
Devin Lloyd Areas for Improvement
Lloyd is a strong athlete, but he isn’t an elite athlete. He is sure to test well during the draft process, but it won’t be a surprise if he is not at the top of every list. Premier pass catching running backs may provide some problems for Lloyd in coverage. Lloyd could improve on changing direction once guys get in and out of their cuts.
While Lloyd isn’t small, he isn’t huge either. His compact frame, while advantageous most of the time, can result in some issues. On pass rushing plays, if he gets too far into an offensive lineman’s body the rep is probably over as he doesn’t possess elite strength. On running plays, if he isn’t quick to diagnose where the ball carrier is going and instead gets engaged on a block, he might have trouble shedding that block. Lloyd has done well to put on weight while in school, but at his height a few more pounds may provide useful.
Final Thoughts on Devin Lloyd
Lloyd is a stud, and has been since he started being an every down player for the Utes. Linebackers who can cover in space and blitz are extremely valuable in today’s NFL. With another solid season of tape, Lloyd will be in the mix to hear his name called early. I would estimate in top 50 picks. Lloyd’s measurables and play style are reminiscent of Zach Cunningham, which after seeing his second contract, should bode well for his future.
Devin Lloyd NFL Draft prospect Report by Justin Trevisani