You have already seen that the Jacksonville Jaguars’ decision to select Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker in the 2022 NFL Draft has gotten lukewarm reviews. By the same token, they’ve been praised for getting back into the first round to take Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd at No. 27. In fact, Matt Bowen of ESPN sees the Jags as the perfect landing spot for the former Ute start.
Bowen recently drew up a list of fits and optimal landing spots for top rookies and believes that Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell will deploy Lloyd in coverage and as a blitzer. Bower believes the California native will make plays against the run and goes on to outline how he thinks Jacksonville will use him in 2022.
"New Jags defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell coached the linebackers last season under Todd Bowles in Tampa, and we saw how the Bucs deployed their second-level defenders both in coverage and as blitzers. That’s a fit for the versatile Lloyd. Look for him to be used on pressure schemes, hitting the A and B gaps on downhill stunts. He has the physical tools to beat running backs in protection, and I see the second-level range necessary to make plays as a coverage defender, too. Lloyd will also rack up run-game stops, and we could see Caldwell use him as a situational edge rusher. He flashed pass-rush traits on his college tape."
Before the draft, the Jaguars seemed interested in Georgia linebacker Quay Walker but he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers at No. 22. Probably not wanting to run the risk of not being able to land Lloyd, Jacksonville send picks No. 33, 106, and 180 to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers to move up six spots.
Devin Lloyd gives the Jaguars linebacker corps an immediate boost.
Off-linebacker isn’t a premium position nowadays but that doesn’t mean it should be outright neglected. Myles Jack had been a mainstay of the Jaguars’ defense for the past few years but he hadn’t made enough big plays and had a down year in 2021.
For that reason, it wasn’t surprising to see the team’s brass move on from Jack and sign Foyesade Oluokun in free agency to take his place in the lineup. Moreover, they opted to let Damien Wilson hit the open market even though he was coming off a productive campaign.
However, the Jags didn’t stop at Oluokun and went on to select Lloyd and Chad Muma in this year’s selection meeting. While it may be tough to find playing time for Muma, Lloyd should be a starter on Day 1.
Mike Cadwell has enough talent to work with at the linebacker position in 2022. While he and the Jaguars’ coaching staff have to figure out how to best use their young core of playmakers, there’s no doubt their defense is in better shape (at least on paper) than it was last year.