Devin Lloyd soaking up coaching, adjusting to NFL life

Linebacker from Utah was 27th pick in last April’s draft

Jacksonville Jaguars inside linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) warms up before the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a month of working with the Jaguars through various team activities, Devin Lloyd is getting used to his new team in Jacksonville.

It’s a long way from college at the University of Utah.

“Everyone’s been very welcoming, and the older guys have been helping a lot,” said Lloyd, a linebacker who was the 27th overall pick in last April’s draft.

Transitioning from Salt Lake City to Jacksonville can be a big jump. Utah features unique advantages when playing at home, such as being accustomed to the state’s altitude. With an ominous elevation of 4,637 feet, the Utes have prepared themselves for the additional problems that the thin air presents for Pac-12 teams used to playing at sea level.

Lloyd said he’s barely noticed the change from Utah to Florida and feels great.

“I feel really good on the field, and my play speed has increased,” Lloyd said. “I’m feeling comfortable, growing every day, and the first month has been great with the team.”

The Kansas City native credits coaches Bob Sutton and Tony Gilbert for the growth of his game since arriving at Jacksonville.

“They’re so knowledgeable about the game, and I’m very appreciative of how they help me,” Lloyd said. “They show me every detail and find little things that greatly help me.”

Sutton, one of the few coaches left over from last season’s staff, enters his second season with the Jaguars as the team’s senior defensive assistant and has more than 40 years of coaching experience, including 22 seasons at the NFL level.

Gilbert is entering his third season in the NFL and Jacksonville as the inside linebacker’s coach. He played linebacker at the University of Georgia and was drafted in 2003 by the Cardinals.

Lloyd notes how the game is slightly different from Gilbert’s days to his. He said the biggest difference is how linebackers today must cover more versatile offensive players.

He mentioned Travis Etienne Jr. as an example of how the position has evolved through the years. Etienne is the type of player who can start in the backfield and then motion out to run every pattern in the route tree.

“[Linebackers] have to play anywhere on the field in today’s age,” Lloyd said. “Have to trust your athletic ability, your hips, and be that athletic physical player they expect you to be.”

The biggest thing Lloyd has noticed with the linebacker group is how they need to be aggressive and utilize it in coverage.

“We must be versatile, whether inside or outside linebackers,” Lloyd said. “We have to be athletic whatever position they want us at.”

When Lloyd first arrived, he asked his coaches for the playbooks so he could start as soon as possible. He credits this to his overachiever mindset.

“I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to make sure I look back and have no regrets,” Lloyd said. “I regret nothing from my college career, and I want to do the same about my professional career.”

During his time at Utah, Lloyd was a stat sheet stuffer each season. In 47 career games, he finished with 43 tackles for loss, the fourth-most in program history. He was also a two-time Butkus Award Finalist (2020-21).

When minicamp wraps Wednesday, Lloyd said he’ll take a couple of days to relax and put football in the back of his mind. After time to decompress, Lloyd will be right back at it.

“I’ll take some days off, but then next week, I’m ramping it back up,” Lloyd said. “My goal is to increase my range of motion and be the most conditioned athlete on the field.”