Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd is the top NFL prospect among those with ties to the state this year — he’s projected to be a first-rounder when the 2022 NFL draft takes place later this month.
Beyond Lloyd, though, there’s some uncertainty how many Utah prospects will be selected during the 2022 draft, set for April 28-30 at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Jordan Reid made his predictions for every selection (all 262) in this year’s draft, and if it’s any indication, several Utah schools could be represented in the draft.
While Lloyd is seen as a Day 1 prospect, there aren’t many Utah ties seen as a Day 2 pick, when the NFL draft’s second and third rounds take place.
Instead, it appears likely that the majority of other Utah prospects will be Day 3 picks, in the draft’s fourth through seventh rounds, or undrafted free-agent signees once the draft is over.
Here’s where Reid saw Utah prospects landing in the draft.
Where is Devin Lloyd projected as an NFL draft pick?
- Reid has Lloyd going in the first round with the No. 21 overall pick to the New England Patriots.
“This pick will likely come down to a wide receiver, linebacker or corner. Lloyd is a former safety with easy movement skills and versatility. He was at the center of it all for the Utes’ defense and was able to generate lots of negative plays against opposing offenses,” Reid wrote.
“Lloyd is rangy when scraping over the top while also providing value as a blitzer. He has a game that revolves around speed and instincts and could be an ideal selection for New England.”
If he’s selected by the Patriots, Lloyd would help replace former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who was released by New England earlier this offseason.
Lloyd to the Patriots has been a popular pick during the pre-draft process — Reid’s counterpart at ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr., also had the playmaking Utes defender headed to New England in his latest mock draft, released Wednesday.
Another national expert, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, had Lloyd as high as a possible top 5 pick in a recent mock draft.
Lloyd is generally seen as a mid- to late first-round selection in the majority of mock drafts, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans other popular destinations for him.
What round are other Utah ties being projected as NFL draft picks?
Reid has four others wit Utah ties going in the draft, all on Day 3.
- No. 116 overall, Denver Broncos: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU.
Allgeier is widely seen as most likely the second with Utah ties to come off the board during the NFL draft, though where he lands is more unpredictable. The Broncos may go for a running back in the draft: They return second-year back Javonte Williams, but last year’s leading rusher, Melvin Gordon, is a free agent.
- No. 189 overall, Washington Commanders: Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah and Murray High.
Jones would be the fourth NFL draft pick ever for Southern Utah if he’s taken in the draft, and the first since 2016, when safety Miles Killebrew and cornerback LeShaun Sims were both mid-round picks.
- No. 223 overall, Cleveland Browns: T.J. Pledger, RB, Utah.
Pledger participated in the Senior Bowl in February — “I was able to sit down with 20-plus teams and showcase my talents in front of them,” he said of the experience at Utah’s pro day last month.
- No. 224 overall, Miami Dolphins: James Empey, C, BYU and American Fork High.
If Empey is selected, it would be the second-straight season a BYU offensive lineman is drafted, after Brady Christensen was a fourth-rounder last year. Prior to that, it had been 16 years since a BYU offensive lineman was taken in the draft — Scott Young was a fifth-rounder in 2005.
Who else with Utah ties could be selected in the NFL draft?
Two others with Utah ties — Utah linebacker Nephi Sewell and former Utah State and Snow College running back Jaylen Warren — joined Lloyd, Allgeier and Jones at this year’s NFL combine.
Other names to watch during the draft and in free agency include a bevy of Utah players, among them wide receiver Britain Covey (also a Timpview High alum), offensive linemen Bamidele Olaseni and Nick Ford, and edge rusher Mika Tafua, as well as Utah State wide receiver Deven Thompkins.