The Jacksonville Jaguars have found a gem in second-year linebacker Devin Lloyd. After a promising rookie season, Lloyd has been turning heads with his improved performance in 2023. Playing alongside Foye Oluokun in the Jaguars' 3-4 defense, Lloyd has shown tremendous growth, displaying confidence, speed, awareness, and ease on the field. So why is he flying under the radar?
Lloyd was selected as the No. 27 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and wasted no time making an impact. He was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month for September, showcasing his immense potential. However, as with many rookies, he faced some challenges with recognition and awareness as the season progressed. This led to a brief stint as a backup in November and December, but Lloyd regained his starting position for the final five regular-season games and two postseason games.
The Jaguars came out of the 2022 NFL Draft with the best off-linebacker
He was the second linebacker selected in 2022, behind Georgia's Quay Walker and over Nakobe Dean. Lloyd is hands down the best linebacker in that class. His overall Pro Football Focus grade of 77.6 makes him the second highest-rated linebacker on the Jaguars defense behind Oluokun and a tremendous value over Walker (63.0) or Dean (61.7). Lloyd is also ranked 17th in the NFL in his second year, above the Ravens' Patrick Queen, the Bills' Matt Milano(73) or Jordan Hicks (76.6) of the Minnesota Vikings.
Lloyd possesses unique skills that make him a force to be reckoned with on the field. His speed, ball IQ, tackling ability, and physicality have caught the attention of his teammates and coaches. He has a knack for being around the ball, evident by his 115 tackles, three interceptions, and eight passes defensed last season. Lloyd's impact is not limited to the passing game; he is equally disruptive in the run game, always striving to make a difference.
Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd has seen his stock skyrocket in 2023
He is not a pass-rushing linebacker; he is a run-stopping field general, so he doesn't get the sacks that get praise and attention. Coupled with his seven missed tackles this season, most fans and analysts are writing him off and dismissing Lloyd.
Let's set the record straight: in his second year, Devin Lloyd is making his way to be a top-5 off-linebacker in the league.