There are few players who are as versatile and productive as Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd.
Lloyd simply stuffed just about every box on the stat sheet over the course of his 36 games at Utah. He racked up 256 tackles, 43 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 8 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions by the end of his red-shirt junior season. That’s with playing just 3 games as a freshman and 5 games in a shortened 2020 season.
Lloyd has good size, good athleticism, and the football IQ to be a true MIKE linebacker at the next level.
The New York Giants, of course, have been looking for a true long-term answer at the linebacker position since the loss of Antonio Pierce more than a decade ago. The evolution of the modern offense has made the search even more difficult, as every-down linebackers need to exceptionally diverse skill sets.
Could the value be right for Lloyd to finally be that answer?
Prospect: Devin Lloyd (0)
Games Watched: vs. BYU (2021), vs. USC (2021), vs. Stanford (2021), vs. Oregon (2021)
Games Played: 36
Tackles For a loss: 43.0
Forced Fumbles: 2
Passes Defensed: 8
Games Played: 14
Tackles For a loss: 22.0
Forced Fumbles: 1
Passes Defensed: 6
Best: Football IQ, athleticism, block shedding, competitive toughness, productivity, versatility
Worst: Hip stiffness, backpedal
Projection: A starting MIKE or SAM linebacker with scheme versatility
(Lloyd is Utah linebacker number “0”)
Utah’s Devin Lloyd is an experienced, productive, smart, athletic, and versatile linebacker prospect.
Lloyd has a versatile frame at 6-foot 2 ¾ inches, 237 pounds. He combines enough size with good athleticism, allowing him to do anything asked of him in Utah’s defense. Lloyd lined up as both an inside and outside linebacker, and even played EDGE defender on occasion. He was asked to drop into coverage, come downhill and play the run, and was a frequent blitzer.
Lloyd is a great communicator both before and after the snap of the ball. He does a great job of communicating with his teammates, helping them to get lined up and passing along information in the pre-snap phase of the play. He is also an active communicator after the snap, particularly when dropping into zone coverage. He does a good job of picking up and passing off receivers, and alerting teammates when he does so to prevent coverage breakdowns.
Lloyd is a very good run defender as both an inside and outside linebacker. He has good play strength and plays with great technique when taking on blockers. Lloyd does a good job of keeping himself clean when playing downfield and is able to stack and shed blocks from offensive linemen. He understands offensive concepts and blocking schemes, and does a great job of tracking the ball in the backfield. Lloyd takes aggressive (but smart) angles to the ball, has a good closing burst, and is a reliable tackler.
In addition to dropping in coverage and defending the run, Lloyd was also frequently asked to rush the passer for Utah. He rushed from all over the defensive formation, pressuring through interior gaps, from the second level as an off-ball linebacker, and even lining up in a 3-point stance as an “EDGE” defender. Lloyd shows similar skill avoiding or shedding blocks as a pass rusher as he does as a run defender. He has a good burst into the backfield and is smart enough to know when to break off his rushes and pursue screen plays or quick passes.
Lloyd is a well-rounded linebacker with few true weaknesses in his game. That said, he definitely appears more comfortable playing downhill than playing in space. He has some lower-body stiffness that shows up when he’s forced to backpedal in coverage. Lloyd can be a bit slow to get depth on deeper zone drops and needs a beat to gather himself before changing directions. Likewise, he shows some slight stiffness in his hips when forced to open or flip his hips as a coverage player.
Overall Grade: 8.5
Utah’s Devin Lloyd projects as an immediate starter as a linebacker with the versatility to play in any NFL defensive scheme.
Lloyd offers good versatility to NFL defenses and can be developed as a true “MIKE” linebacker, or as a “SAM” linebacker who both plays in space or on the line of scrimmage in an “under” front. Lloyd’s football IQ and instincts are his greatest asset, and should allow him to pick up NFL defenses (and offenses) quickly after being drafted. He also has the athleticism to act on those instincts and already plays fast.
Lloyd has the ability to play in any defense, but he’ll be at his best in an aggressive defense that lets him play downhill much of the time. He appears much more comfortable going forward and is an aggressive run defender and pass rusher. Lloyd diagnoses running plays quickly and consistently takes accurate first steps. Likewise, he has the potential to be an effective blitzing linebacker. He might not be quite as dynamic an athlete as some linebackers in this draft class, but his mental footwork more than makes up the difference.
It can occasionally take him a bit of time to hit his stride in a game, but he has the ability to take games over once he sees enough of the offense.