The Utes’ Devin Lloyd made program history on Thursday night.
He became the first former Utah linebacker to be a first-round NFL draft pick, when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Lloyd with the 27th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
The Jaguars, who took Georgia defensive end Travon Walker with the first overall pick, traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 27 to get back into the first round and grab Lloyd.
The 6-foot-3, 237-pound linebacker was a disruptive playmaker for the Utes over the past four seasons.
During his college career, Lloyd had 255 career tackles in 47 games, to go with 149 solo tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, five interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and nine pass breakups.
Lloyd is the fourth Utah defender to ever be a first-round draft pick, joining defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (No. 14 to Carolina Panthers, 2013), defensive tackle Luther Elliss (No. 20 to Detroit Lions, 1995) and defensive back Norm Thompson (No. 17 to St. Louis Cardinals, 1971).
What others have said about Devin Lloyd
“Lloyd is a taller off-ball linebacker with very good arm length, better-than-average straight-line speed for the position and great lower-body explosion. He played safety in high school and moves like one in coverage. He consistently holds up man-to-man, is rangy in zone and has outstanding ball skills for a linebacker.” — ESPN’s Todd McShay.
“He plays with the willful demeanor of an NFL alpha linebacker and is sneaky talented as a rusher either blitzing or aligning off the edge. Lloyd will make plenty of plays and should become a good starter as an inside or strong-side linebacker, but inconsistent process could limit his consistency.” — NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
“Devin is a special football player. He’s the best defender that’s ever come through the University of Utah, at least in the modern era.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
What others said about the selection
“Day 1 starter. Despite signing Foye Oluokun in free agency, linebacker was a huge need in Jacksonville — especially middle linebacker, where Lloyd has the height, length, and speed to step in right away. He’s a true three down player who the Jaguars can now continue to build a defense around.” — ESPN’s Matt Miller.
“Lloyd is a ball magnet with exceptional instincts and awareness, a big-play threat in coverage who also displays the athleticism and explosiveness to create chaos as a pass rusher. With the Utah standout additionally flashing sound fundamentals as a tackler in space, he has the talent to emerge as a Pro Bowl-caliber player early in his career.” — NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks.