Devin Lloyd, a mobile off-the-ball linebacker out of Utah, has been one of the most popular mock draft targets for the Patriots this spring and on Friday Lloyd confirmed he had met with New England while at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
"It came really fast and came and went really fast, just them trying to get to know me trying to get a feel for the type of player, the type of person," said Lloyd during his media availability. "They're definitely intense, the questions they ask. You know, they're very successful year in and year out for a reason."
The Patriots are looking at some potential turnover at linebacker this offseason with Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Ja'Whaun Bentley all due to hit free agency. Lloyd isn't a one-for-one match of any of those players, but has a number of intriguing traits that could make him a nice fit in the New England defense while providing a youthful dose of athleticism.
"Highly productive and highly physical, Lloyd could create interesting discussions in draft rooms as teams work through his process versus production," writes Lance Zierlein for NFL.com. "He plays with the willful demeanor of an NFL alpha linebacker and is sneaky talented as a rusher either blitzing or aligning off the edge. Lloyd will make plenty of plays and should become a good starter as an inside or strong-side linebacker, but inconsistent process could limit his consistency."
However, Lloyd wasn't the only linebacker to mention they had met with New England, with Wyoming's Chad Muma also confirming an informal sit down with the Pats, along with Christian Harris of Alabama and Quay Walker of Georgia.
That collection of linebackers should all be expected to go within the first two days of the draft, but if the Patriots are looking a bit off the beaten path for a mid-round option, Troy Andersen from Montana State could also fit the bill. Andersen confirmed he had an informal meeting with New England as well.
"Intriguing "do-everything" prospect with unusual versatility that could see him getting reps in all three phases," writes Zierlein of Andersen in his NFL.com scouting report. "Andersen has good size and toughness with the ball in his hands, but he's transitioned to a full-time linebacker role. However, he's still inexperienced at the position, which shows in his instincts and technique at that spot. Despite those concerns, he was an extremely productive playmaker, using his physical tools and motor to shine."
All four linebacker prospects have clear Patriots-type characteristics and will be names to keep an eye on at the end of April.
The linebackers and defensive line will work out at the Combine on Saturday.