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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Utah LB Devin Lloyd

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Utah LB Devin Lloyd

6-foot-3
237 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.12 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate starter

Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2022 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2022 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

TL;DR scouting report

Three-down playmaker and box-score stuffer with good size and athleticism who can be a bit clunky and a tick slow to react at times

The skinny

A 2-star Rivals recruit as a safety, Lloyd committed to the Utes over mostly Group of Five schools (and lower). After redshirting in 2017 and playing as a reserve linebacker in 2018, Lloyd earned the starting rover job in 2019 and started his final three seasons, accumulating 43 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, five interceptions (three TD returns), nine pass breakups, one forced fumble and one recovery. Lloyd was a two-time Butkus Award finalist and the 2021 Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year.

Utah LB Devin Lloyd (0) against USC in 2021. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Utah LB Devin Lloyd (0) against USC in 2021. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Upside

  • Consistently good production over three seasons — always around the ball

  • Terrific physicality, unafraid of sticking his nose in the trash

  • Quick-strike ability — can come from off the screen to make a play

  • Tracks down ballcarriers from behind with plus pursuit

  • Clear three-down ability — agile in pass coverage (former safety) with nice ball production

  • 100 return yards on five career INTs, with three pick-sixes

  • Multiple big plays in pass coverage, including absurd pick-six vs. Stanford

  • Keeps eyes peeled in zone coverage — good peripheral vision to spot crossers

  • Sneaky good pass-rush ability — times up rushes well and closes fast

  • Can play every LB spot effectively and walk out to the slot

  • Might be able to add some mass and maintain quickness

  • Doesn't freelance or recklessly guess often

  • Had standout performances last season in coverage (pick-six vs. Oregon in Pac-12 championship), as run defender (Stanford game) an pass rusher (Arizona State game)

  • Considered to have strong intangibles, work ethic — self-driven, disciplined player raised in military family

  • Willing special teamer

Downside

  • Looked surprisingly stiff in combine positional drills

  • Lacks oily hips to bend, change directions quickly

  • Doesn't always power through blocks in the hole

  • Still learning how to stack and shed and break down blocks

  • Can lose initial step in coverage

  • Will let quicker pass catchers gain step on him (see Arizona State, Ohio State games)

  • Can gain depth in zone quicker

  • Occasionally sloppy tackler who fails to wrap up

  • Well insulated on talented defense with good D-line

  • Could get his hands on even more passes with sped-up recognition

Best-suited destination

Lloyd is a tone-setting glue player who has made himself into a top-tier playmaker. He might have an up-and-down first season or two in the NFL, adjusting to pro concepts and speed, but has the temperament, athletic profile and will to be a standout in the league. He'd fit into just about any system and can be tasked with complex assignments in time. A future green-dot defender.

Did you know

Lloyd was a safety, receiver and punter in high school, once booting a 60-yard kick. His father, Joe, served in the Navy as a communications officer for 26 years. His mother, Ronyta, also served before Devin's birth.

Player comp

Could end up as a Chad Greenway-type performer in the NFL.

Expected draft range

Mid to late first-round pick.