With Round 1 of the 2022 NFL draft rapidly approaching on Thursday, April 28, one of college football’s elite prospects expected to hear his name called on day one, Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, sat down with Heavy for an exclusive interview about his path to the draft.
Lloyd, who has partnered with USAA, an official NFL Salute to Service Partner, offered fans an exclusive look into how his military upbringing and his family’s rich history of service have prepared him for success in life both on and off the gridiron.
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Lloyd’s NFL Role Models Include Kam Chancellor, Patrick Willis
Q: What can you tell us about your story and connection to the military?
Lloyd: “Both of my parents were in the military and my mom got out when she had me. She was in for 10 years and my dad did over 30 years and he just retired. I grew up with my mom for the first 12 years of my life and then I went to live with my dad. I really learned a lot from both of them and still have a good relationship with both. When it comes to the military that really shaped me. Responsibility and loyalty are some of the things I learned from him.”
Q: As someone whose dad spent 20 years in the Navy, discipline was always a thing and it was a strict household. Did that help shape your work ethic?
Lloyd: “You know when you’re a teenager and you have to wake up on Saturday mornings before everyone to make sure the grass was cut, your bed has to be made, and the bathroom has to be cleaned because inspection is going to come. Whenever you grow up in an environment like that you learn how to handle your stuff and get your responsibilities done.”
Q: Let’s shift the conversation over to football talk, do you listen to any of the noise?
Lloyd: “Yeah I’ll be on Netflix and my mom will probably send me some stuff about the draft. For me, it is a blessing to have these opportunities and I have the highest standard for myself. Ultimately I block out the noise and everyone at the end of the day is going to have their own opinion and I respect that. Feel free to have your own opinion but for me, I know what God has planned and I know the work I have put in. So really I just kind of let my life play out and I can’t wait to see where God sends me.”
Q: We are getting to the nitty-gritty, do you have your draft day plans locked in?
Lloyd: “I’ll be in Vegas taking all of that in. You know this is something you dream about ever since you realize you have the opportunity to play in the NFL. You know walking across that stage and shaking the commissioner’s hand and I’m just grateful that I have the opportunity to do this and that is something I’m looking forward to experiencing with my close friends and family. It’s going to be fun.”
Q: Devin what are we going with? The classic handshake, slap-and-dap, or bring it in for the bro hug, what are we talking about here?
Lloyd: “You know I was thinking the other day what if I went in and faked the handshake and just give him a hug and lift him up off of his feet? I don’t know, I might just go in classy, we’ll see how I’m feeling at that moment.”
Q: What NFL teams specifically have expressed the most interest ahead of the draft?
Lloyd: “Yeah let me see, definitely the top-30 visits were the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and the Buffalo Bills. It is really hard to tell because they all come at different angles so you never know how they’re actually feeling. I want to say there is a lot of interest from the large majority of the teams but I can’t give you one specific one.”
Q: Which players do you model your game after?
Lloyd: “There are a lot of linebackers that I have so much respect for their game. Ray Lewis obviously being one of them has been a huge role model. Also, Patrick Willis is a big one, and Derrick Brooks. I feel like for me starting off playing free safety I have to mention Kam Chancellor who is one of my all-time favorite players. His mentality and how he approached the game and that presence about him that is something I aspire to have.”
Q: What is your pitch to NFL teams as to why should they take a chance on you in the first round?
Lloyd: “You take me because I’m a game-changer and a leader. I’m somebody who is going to come in and hold myself to the highest standard and hold others around me to that same standard. I’m just going to win, I’m going to find a way to win, and I’m going to find a way to make those around me better and ultimately play for one thing and that is to win the Super Bowl.”
You can watch the full interview with Lloyd here.
Could the Jets Take a Chance on Lloyd?
If the New York Jets want to end up with Lloyd, that path will likely have to come via trade.
According to ESPN Sports Analytics, the highest he is rated on the consensus big board is No. 13, and his ranking with Mel Kiper Jr and Todd McShay in mocks are No. 21 and No. 18 respectively.
When you look closer at that data his range of probability to get selected is most likely to happen between No. 15 and No. 21 overall in the first round. The highest probability chance he gets selected at this current moment is No. 18 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles, per ESPN’s metrics.
Both of the Jets’ picks are inside the top-10 so they could trade back or trade up from the top of the second round (No. 35 or No. 38 overall).
Of course, they could also just say screw it and take him with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round which is possible but considering all of their other needs that would be a surprise.
He is widely considered at worst a top-two linebacker in this class with Georgia’s Nakobe Dean, but most have him billed as the top-ranked player at the position.
During his four years at Utah, Lloyd put up some ridiculous numbers, including 15.5 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, 256 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 3 touchdowns.
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