ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Devin Lloyd feels good these days, and why not?
The second-year linebacker through three weeks of Jaguars 2023 Training Camp increasingly is playing more like a second-year player – which means playing with more confidence, more speed, more awareness and more ease.
That also has meant more plays, which was the case again on Wednesday on Day 16 of '23 camp.
"It's so much more fun," Lloyd said.
Lloyd, the No. 27 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft and a starting inside linebacker next to Foye Oluokun in the Jaguars' 3-4 defense, was among the standouts Wednesday in the first of two consecutive days of joint practices against the Detroit Lions. He not only had an early one-handed interception, he had a near interception late in practice and a would-be sack on a pass rush.
Jaguars veteran outside linebacker Josh Allen said days such as Wednesday are unsurprising, and said he expects Lloyd to be an All-Pro Player "within the next year."
"I thought last year he was a hell of a linebacker for us," Allen said. "He went through his little rookie flows or whatever, but I think now he's starting to put it all together."
Lloyd was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month for September before struggling at times with recognition and awareness. He spent two weeks in November and December backing up fellow rookie Chad Muma before returning to the starting lineup for the last five regular-season games and two postseason games.
"The speed sticks out with him," Allen said. "The ball IQ sticks out with him, the tackling, the physicality … everything sticks out with him. He has all the pieces. Now we just have to keep him on the field, keep him healthy and let him go."
Lloyd said if football is more fun than a year ago, it's because increased knowledge and experienced has increased his comfort level.
"Now, it's knowing where to fit at all times, knowing who's with me – and knowing where I can take shots," he said. "That's a big thing as well: Knowing what to do, how to do it, just going out and doing it and playing ball and having fun versus having to worry about, 'OK, I'm sure I'm on top of this play.'
"Before, you get outside [the huddle] and you kind of want to look at a call sheet to make sure. Now, he tells me the play and I'm, 'OK, cool.' I'm not even worried about it. I'm just worried about playing faster."
And that should mean more impact plays this season for Lloyd, who last season finished second on the Jaguars with 115 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions while also defensing eight passes.
"The expectation is to get to the ball, get my hands on the football or just be disruptive in the pass game," he said. "Even in the run game, being around the ball, always. That's kind of my M.O., is I'm going to be around the ball.
"One thing I learned is it's just an uphill climb, from the start of my career to the end of my career. I definitely see that I took a lot of steps forward, but it's an uphill climb and I'm looking forward to it."
- Rookie outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah on Wednesday continued a strong camp with a strong pass rush for a would-be sack in a late 11-on-11 drill. Abdullah, a fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft from Louisville, had a sack and a pressure in the Jaguars’ Preseason Week 1 victory at Dallas Saturday and has gotten good pressure consistently during camp. "It's going smooth," he said. "I just have to keep chopping wood and control what I can control. There's always room for improvement, always something to work on. It's the NFL, so it's a huge level. It's a huge difference. Everybody's good here. I definitely feel like I belong here, but I've got to keep working. Not a lot of people thought I'd be here. That's just an extra chip on my shoulder."
Compete 😲 The Jaguars spend the day practicing against the Detroit Lions. Swipe though to view old and new teammates challenging one another to get better 💪