New England Patriots 2022 NFL Draft Target #1: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
The last time the New England Patriots selected a linebacker in the NFL Draft was in 2012. The Patriots had two firsts that year. With No. 21 they took Chandler Jones, then with the 25th pick they selected linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Now, 10 years later in the 2022 NFL Draft, they could take another linebacker.
New England made a trade with the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason that sent Chase Winovich for Mack Wilson. Wilson showed promise early in the Cleveland, but was shuffled out of the rotation. Wilson will fit in well with New England, but the Patriots will need more options at the linebacker position.
Arguably the best prospect at the position in this class is Devin Lloyd. Over the last three seasons, Lloyd played in 33 games at Utah and totaled 250 tackles. That’s an average of over 7.5 tackles per game. Additionally, he had 43 tackles for loss over that time as well as 15.5 sacks. But it doesn’t stop there. Lloyd added eight passes defended, five interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Being able to not only be all over the field, but make impactful plays beyond just normal tackles is the key to Lloyd’s game and something that screams Patriots. Lloyd can immediately step in and take over the role that Hightower once played.
The linebacker rankings for the 2022 NFL Draft are a bit hard to pinpoint. Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker, both from Georgia, are in the mix and so is Chad Muma from Wyoming. While those are all solid players, Lloyd is the best of the bunch by far.