PFF recognizes Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd's improvement in latest power rankings

• The Jaguars crack the top 10 in PFF's linebacker rankings.
Dec 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

You won't probably see the Jacksonville Jaguars earn a high spot in most power rankings ahead of the 2024 NFL season, and rightly so. They were in a position to make the playoffs and win the AFC South last year before ultimately suffering a collapse. That said, the Jags do have enough talent at several positions to bounce back. In particular, their linebacker corps earned praise from Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus.

McGuinness ranked all 32 linebacker corps ahead of the regular season and listed the Jags at No. 7, arguing that Devin Lloyd showed progress in Year 2 and Foyesade Oluokun is as dependable as they come.

"Devin Lloyd’s improvement from his first season to his second seemed to slip under the radar, but the 27th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft was the fourth-highest-graded linebacker in the NFL in run defense last year (90.0). Next to him, Foyesade Oluokun ranked 22nd in the NFL with a 75.2 PFF grade and was solid against the run and in coverage."

Lloyd, a first-round pick in 2022, got off to a strong start to his rookie year but faded down the stretch. He was most consistent last year, as McGuinnes pointed out, and is expected to be even better in Year 3. The former Utah Ute shoMcGuinnesswed up to offseason activities in great shape and will benefit from the switch to Ryan Nielsen's 4-3 scheme, where he'll be able to put his skill set on full display.

Oluokun, for his part, has become a mainstay of the Jaguars defense. A sixth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons, he's logged over 300 tackles over the last two seasons and has established himself as a veteran presence in the locker room. In fact, he's been named team captain by his teammates each of the past two years.

The Jags recognized Oluokun's impact off and on the field and rewarded him with a three-year extension. Behind him and Lloyd, Jacksonville has 2022 third-round pick Chad Muma, who's been on and off the past two years but has the talent to develop into a steady contributor. Also in the mix are sophomore Ventrell Miller, special teams ace Caleb Johnson, and undrafted free agent Andrew Parker Jr.

Linebacker is a strength for the Jaguars in 2024

One overlooked storyline surrounding the Jaguars this offseason is that they're making the switch to a 4-3 scheme under defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen after running a 3-4 the past two years. This should have a positive impact on the defense. The defensive front and the linebacker corps, in particular, should benefit from the change.

Usually, 3-4 defenses have three linebackers but the Jags will only have two most of the time because nickel has become somewhat of the base package in today's NFL. This means Oluokun and Lloyd will get the nod. Maybe Muma will get playing time if he makes a strong impression in training camp. Conversely, Miller could get ahead of him if he struggles.

Either way, linebacker is one of the positions the Jaguars probably won't have to worry about next season due to its depth and overall talent. It's also great to see Jacksonville get a bit of love from PFF, as they've landed in the bottom half of most rankings this offseason.

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