Some rookies might not have an impact right off the bat. A few others need time to develop before they can contribute. Then, there's Devin Lloyd, who got off to a strong start for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022 but was benched toward the end of the season. Heading into Year 2, Lloyd says he feels there's a day and night difference between last year's offseason program and this one.
Lloyd made an appearance on the Jim Rome Show and said that he took some time off after the 2022 season and now feels in great shape, mentally and physically.
"First off, as soon as the season was done, I just got away from football to get some time off, to recover my body first and foremost, recover my mind, get back to feeling fresh", Lloyd said. "The season wears you down, so I had to get back to feeling fresh, and then about a month in really started to build things back up.
I think the substancial time away was much needed for it being my first offseason but just slowly started to build things back up from there. I'm at a point where I feel great mentally, physically, and spiritually. I feel great and we're still in a phase where we're just continuing to build it back even more", Lloyd said.
Lloyd later tells Jim Rome that it's easy to burn out, so his now trying to do a better job of balancing time away from football. The former Utah Ute then says that he had to make several adjustments in his rookie season but he feels more comfortable going into Year 2.
"Going into last year, it was a lot of first even throughout the coaching staff who was first-time position coach, first-time DC, first year, rookie. It was a lot of firsts for all of us, so just all of us as a group, and me understanding what it's like, what the culture is like, what the environment is like, and what to expect coming in the fall. I do see a night and day difference. Just during OTAs, the communication is sharp, the energy is on point and I'm just speaking as a group but how I fit into the puzzle, I think everybody is just clicking in, it's just so much better", Lloyd said.
LB Devin Lloyd is in a position to make an impact for the Jaguars in Year 2
Not only is Lloyd feeling good ahead of his sophomore campaign but head coach Doug Pederson also notices a difference, noting that he's in a good spot, both physically and mentally. Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell also told the media that the California native is also playing faster and making progress.
Lloyd was an early candidate for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2022 but he struggled as the season went on, which led the Jags to bench him in favor of fellow linebacker Chad Muma.
In Lloyd's defense, he dealt with everything that comes with being projected to go in the first round. The fact that he missed a significant portion of training camp with a hamstring injury didn't help matters. The good news is that he's in a good spot now and can focus on working on his craft without having to worry about the pre-draft process or being sidelined with injuries.
The Jags expected big things from Lloyd when traded back into the first round to draft him 27th overall last year. It may be a year later but it looks like they'll get a return in their investment in 2023.