As the 2022 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots’ radar or that we feel would be a great fit.
The Patriots have a lot of questions at linebacker, the potential is there to be faster and more athletic, something we’ve all been clamoring for. Currently, as of mid-March, the team has resigned Ja’Whaun Bentley and has Raekwon McMillian, Mack Wilson, Harvey Langi, Jahlani Tavai, Terez Hall, Anfernee Jennings, and Cam McGrone on the roster.
And they also have Matthew Judon, Josh Uche, and Ronnie Perkins, who can be classified as either OLBs or Edge players. Judon and Bentley have played large roles for the team, the rest have either played sparingly or not at all. So, there are question marks. Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins are free agents and may not be back in 2022.
However, the team has already been trending toward more athletic linebackers. The team brought in Raekwon McMillan last year, and he was having an outstanding camp before tearing an ACL late in the summer. But they brought him right back. The team also drafted Cameron McGrone, who at 6’1, 237, doesn’t fit the Patriots M.O. of bringing in big physical backers who can take on guards while filling the hole.
The team traded Chase Winovich for Mack Wilson who is 6’1, 235, so perhaps things are trending more to faster coverage linebackers and away from the bigger thumpers in the middle.
Devin Lloyd, from Utah, is arguably one of the best linebackers in this year’s draft class. That may be bad news for the Patriots, as he may be gone before the team picks at #21. He is a former safety who made the transition to linebacker and has the versatility to play either on the edge or as an inside, off-the-ball backer.
Lloyd has an excellent combination of size, speed, athleticism, and playing experience. He is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who offers very good coverage of backs and tight ends as one would expect of a former safety. He’s like a younger Jamie Collins although Collins was a bit more of a freakish athlete when he was drafted. But he’s the same type of player.
Utah used Lloyd primarily as an off-the-ball inside linebacker but he can slide outside and stand up against the run using his speed and strength and even played as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, who had eight sacks in 2021.
Lloyd doesn’t have that quickness off the snap but his speed allows him to go sideline-to-sideline and deliver a big hit when he arrives. He measured 6’3, 237, at the NFL Combine
– Had outstanding production and is still emerging
– Highly Versatile, Can play any linebacker position
– Physical presence in the running game
– Can rush the passer (8 sacks in 2021)
– Former safety, had 3 INTs returned for a TD
– His processing of plays can sometimes be slow
– Inconsistent with blocking scheme recognition
– Can be a bit stiff at times
What his Role Will Be:
Lloyd should be a starting linebacker right off the bat
Will His Role Change from Year 1-to-2?
Yes, he should be one of the team’s building blocks as they move to rebuild the defense
How Many Downs Can He Play?
What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
Jamie Collins who is a free agent
What is his ST Value?
Good, he played STs while at Utah
NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah had some interesting comments about Lloyd saying, “I’ve been studying Utah LB Devin Lloyd tonight. He’s an angry missile with long arms.”
“In terms of like the do-everything guys off the ball, on the edge, Devin Lloyd is my first choice there,” Jeremiah said. “He’s explosive. He’s not going to run as fast as Micah [Parsons] did, but he’s got length, he’s got instincts, he’s outstanding in pass coverage.”
Lloyd is an intelligent, physical, and athletic linebacker, again, arguably the most complete linebacker in the draft. I don’t believe we’ve seen his peak yet, He improved greatly against the pass from 2020 to 2021. He was productive against the run and rushing the passer.
He has elite athletic skills, while still maintaining a physical presence on the field. He’s a downhill thumper that can either drop into coverage easily or rush the passer. Lloyd was a team captain and the emotional leader of the Utah defense.
The Patriots love versatile players and he has played every linebacker position last year had excellent production with 111 tackles, 8 sacks, 5 turnovers, and 2 touchdowns. He has really generated a lot of buzz around the NFL lately and his stock has risen. What seemed like a good shot of him being around at #21, now seems like a long shot.
A highlight video reel from Prince Highlights can be seen here:
Posted Under: 2022 NFL Draft
Tags: Anfernee Jennings Bill Belichick Cameron McGrone Devin Lloyd Dont'a Hightower Harvey Langi Ja'Whaun Bentley Jahlani Tavai Jamie Collins Josh Uche Mack Wilson Matthew Judon New England Patriots NFL Patriots edge rushers Patriots linebackers Raekwon McMillian Terez Hall