Devin Lloyd has garnered plenty of hype in the lead-up to the 2022 NFL draft.

The former Utah football star is seen by some experts as the top inside linebacker in this year’s draft class, and he’s expected to be a first-round draft pick.

One national expert, though, has an even greater belief in the playmaking defender.

Is Devin Lloyd best defender in modern era of Utah football? His coach sure thinks so

Will Utah’s Devin Lloyd be a top 5 NFL draft pick?

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman has Lloyd going to the New York Giants with the No. 5 overall pick in his NFL mock draft released Monday.

That’s behind Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to Jacksonville at No. 1, Georgia edge Travon Walker to Detroit at No. 2, NC State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu to Houston at No. 3 and Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal to the New York Jets at No. 4.

That means Lloyd would go off the board before another highly rated Pac-12 defender, Oregon edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, who Feldman has going to Atlanta at No. 8.

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“With neither of the standout tackles falling to the Giants, they go for the surest player at a position of need in the vastly underrated Utes star, picking him over a glitzy Pac-12 option, Thibodeaux,” Feldman wrote. 

“The Giants need help at both positions, but I expect the buzz about Lloyd to really build. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder with 33-inch arms made a ton of plays for Utah, posting 32 TFLs in the past 19 games.”

If Lloyd were a top five pick, that would be the highest a former Utah defender has ever gone in the NFL draft. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei holds that distinction now, going No. 14 overall to the Carolina Panthers in 2013.

Where do national experts project Devin Lloyd will be selected?

In a roundup last week of 15 NFL mock drafts, Lloyd was a top 10 pick in one and generally seen as a mid-to-late first-round pick.

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The most popular destination for Lloyd among those mock drafts was the Philadelphia Eagles, who after a trade with New Orleans on Monday, own two first-round draft picks at No. 15 and No. 18.

Other popular destinations are Houston at No. 13 and New England at No. 21.

What stands out about Devin Lloyd?

Feldman talked with college football coaches, among others, in recent weeks to help him research this year’s class, and he backed up his projection of having Lloyd higher than where others have him being selected by saying that “he was one of the few players in this mock draft that no coach had any knock on.”

How Utah ties performed at the NFL combine

Here’s a sampling of what coaches had to say about Lloyd, per Feldman:

  • “I think he’s a freaking stud. I loved that kid. He can do everything. He can rush the passer. They blitzed him just enough. He’s slippery, can get off blocks. He’s tall and long. He can get in passing lanes. He’s really instinctive. He backs it up on film. He’s not just a good test guy.”
  • “He’s a freak. I’ve liked him for a couple of years. In our room, we had the utmost respect for him. He’s an elite player.”
  • “Amazing player. He’s so instinctive. He diagnosed plays and closed the gap in a hurry. He’s also kind of that typical Utah defender, in that he’s a great tackler at the point of contact.”
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