PFF names Devin Lloyd the Jaguars' most improved player from the 2023 season

• LB Devin Lloyd made strides last season

• PFF called him the Jaguars' most improved player in 2024

• Lloyd has still room for growth heading into Year 2

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) is introduced before a regular season NFL football
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) is introduced before a regular season NFL football / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to select Devin Lloyd in the 2022 NFL Draft because they believed he was too good to pass up. While he's had ups and downs the past two years, he recently earned praise from Zoltàn Buday of Pro Football Focus, who called him the Jags' most improved player from the 2023 season.

Buday made a list of players who vastly improved in 2023, one for each NFL team, and picked Lloyd for Jacksonville, noting that he had growing pains as a rookie but fared much better last year.

"Lloyd was a liability at times in coverage and run defense during his rookie campaign, but he improved in both facets for his second season. He finished the season with a 90.3 run-defense grade, ranking third among linebackers."

The Jaguars poured significant resources into the linebacker corps in 2022. First, they gave Foyesade Oluokun a top-market deal in free agency. They then traded up six spots and got back into the first round to select Devin Lloyd at No. 27 after choosing Travon Walker first overall. They later double-dipped and picked Chad Muma in the third round.

As Buday noted, Lloyd made strides last year but still has room for improvement. The former Utah Ute was named the starter next to Oluokun as a rookie despite the fact that he missed a good portion of training camp with a hamstring injury. While he got off to a promising start, registering six passes defensed and two interceptions in the first three games, he eventually hit the wall and was benched in favor of Muma.

Despite his late-season struggles in 2022, Lloyd was named the starter again last year. That was the right call when you take into account that Muma was underwhelming when he got called. Even though Lloyd missed two games, he posted 127 total tackles, 12 more than he did in his rookie year. On the flip side, he failed to register a turnover.

The Jacksonville Jaguars need more from Devin Lloyd in 2024

There's no doubt Lloyd improved in 2022 but he's still got room for improvement. Leaving aside that he needs to make more big plays, he also needs to do a better job of wrapping up tackles. He had an 11.0 percent miss rate last year.

Working in Lloyd's favor is the arrival of defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. Last year, the defense faded down the stretch, blowing up assignments and missing tackles. With Nielsen at the helm, Lloyd should be able to put it all together. And that's the thing, he's been serviceable but he currently isn't what you would consider a franchise building block. Nielsen will try to change that in 2024.

One way Lloyd could improve would be by having to compete for the starting job. Granted, Muma was very good last year but he should also get better under Nielsen. The prospect of making Lloyd compete for his job could give the Jaguars' brass pause since it would reflect poorly on their ability to identify talent in the draft.

That said, the coaching should also give Muma a chance to compete and give the starting nod to whoever comes out on top if they really believe the best players should hit the football field regardless of their draft pedigree.

Devin Lloyd most definitely has room for improvement but it's not hard to see him find more consistency in Year 3. If he does reach his potential in 2024, the Jacksonville Jaguars will have found themselves a game-changer.

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