2022 NFL draft: What Devin Lloyd brings to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense

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Looking back at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2022 draft picks, it’s abundantly clear that they were defensive minded. Five out of their seven selections were defensive players. It only makes sense after examining the team last year. Not only do they need more pressure on quarterbacks, but they also need help from behind the line of scrimmage.

So that is why after grabbing defensive lineman Travon Walker first overall, the Jaguars traded their 33rd, 106th and 180th selections to move up to the 27th pick. They selected Devin Lloyd, linebacker from the University of Utah. The Jaguars expect both Walker and Lloyd to make an impact immediately.

Here are Lloyd’s biggest strengths and how he will come in and help this struggling defense.

Lloyd has ideal length at, 6-foot-2, weighing in at 237 pounds. While at Utah, he had 255 career tackles, including 149 solo tackles, 16.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss. In just this past season, he had 110 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks. The Jaguars are pairing him up with their newest linebacker, who led the league tackles last year, Foye Oluokun, formerly from the Atlanta Falcons.

In the clip below, Lloyd is lined up on the strong side of the offense paired with another inside linebacker to his right. He remains patient behind the line of scrimmage but penetrates the running lane to stop the ball carrier in his tracks.

Similar to what defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell ran with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he will run with the Jaguars. Instead of designating a middle linebacker and weak-side backer, there will be two inside linebackers, Oluokun and Lloyd.

When Caldwell was with the Buccaneers as a linebackers coach from 2019-2021, they led the league in rushing defense. Only allowing 82.5 yards per game and held a defensive rushing average of 3.72 yards per carry. It’s no wonder that the Jaguars coaching staff brought him in to help in the AFC South. When the Buccaneers faced off against Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans in week 8 of Caldwell’s first season. They held Henry to only 72 yards on the ground. We should expect the Jaguars’ two tackling machines, Oluokun and Lloyd to be used in a similar way as Lavonte David and Devin White was used with the Buccaneers.

In the clip below, the Buccaneers have one nose tackle, two defensive ends, and two outside linebackers standing up. The Jaguars will have a similar look with Walker as a defensive end, (5 or 4i) but who could also play as a standing outside linebacker as well.

Lloyd will play the overhang linebacker behind the line of scrimmage stopping run plays as they form and Oluokun watching cutbacks, as someone who can get sideline to sideline.

In the clip below, we can see how efficient Lloyd is when shooting gap and stopping ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. Him and Oluokun will often switch positions. For now, Oluokun will wear the green dot, and Chad Muma, in the future, will take that role.

As a former safety in high school, Lloyd has unique instincts in coverage. At Utah, he finished the 2021 season as the only Pac-12 player with three career interception returns for touchdowns.

At the next level when offenses come out in spread or two tight end (22,12) personnel, Lloyd can pop out in man coverage and also defend the underneath zone.

In the two clips below, Lloyd has the length and speed to keep up with tight-ends up the seam when in man; and the ability in zone coverage to jump shorter routes.

According to teamrankings.com, the Jaguars were bottom five in the league in the following statistics: first quarter points given up (7.0), time of possession allowed (32:38), completion percentage (69%), least incompletions forced per game (9.8), opponent fumbles per game (0.7), yards per point (13.1), and opponent passer rating (100.8).

All of this means that they need to have more pressure at the line of scrimmage and to also be more disruptive at the catch point. The Jaguars newest Lloyd can provide this pressure and also eliminate downfield threats.

Expect this defense to run 3-4, 4-3 hybrid, with 2-4-5 looks as well. Similar to what the Jaguars ran last year with linebacker, Josh Allen. In the clip below, Allen dropped back into coverage, as the inside linebacker and fifth defensive back rushed the passer.

Walker, Allen and Lloyd can all handle these responsibilities. Walker has experience dropping back into coverage, as Lloyd can rush the quarterback. Also, instead of having two safeties on the field, in a 4-3 defense, Muma will come in play as another inside linebacker with running back responsibility. Lloyd and Oluokun can stay in coverage, with the three cornerbacks and one safety in the secondary.

With a much better front seven, expect the Jaguars’ defense to throw a lot of different looks out there. Jaguars now have complete freedom to rush the passer with blitzes and stunts, knowing Lloyd can be there to disrupt passing lanes and stop ball carriers at the line of scrimmage.