No. 1 Jaguars rookie with no room for error: Devin Lloyd, LB
There’s no doubt Travon Walker will face high (maybe unrealistic) expectations by virtue of having been selected with the top pick in this year’s draft. But he wasn’t the only prospect the Jaguars took in the first round that may be under pressure to execute from Day 1. The team’s brass selected Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, who will tentatively start next to Foyesade Oluokun.
By all accounts, Lloyd has been as good as advertised. He’s worked hard throughout the offseason and he’s pretty much a lock to have a big role on the Jaguars’ defense in 2022. But as head coach Doug Pederson recently noted when talking about rookie linebacker Chad Muma, the coaching staff needs to see how they both perform when it’s time to put the pads on, and that could become an issue.
Everyone looks great in shorts and if someone struggles, that should immediately raise some red flags, just like Tennesse Titans rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks, who was “unavailable” in minicamp. Nobody is trying to jinx Lloyd but if he looks underwhelming in training camp, the decision to move up six spots to acquire him won’t look as great. Also, Muma will be breathing behind his neck. Lloyd will get some leeway and many chances to thrive because he was a first-round selection but if he struggles or Muma outshines him, he could end up starting the season in a complementary role and not a featured one.
There’s a good chance Lloyd will be part of the Jaguars’ defensive line in the season opener but if he falters in the upcoming weeks, the coaching staff might opt to go with Muma.