Every year, teams try to find that gem in the later rounds of the draft. That Richard Sherman or Dion Lewis, that player that can be snatched for a low pick and gets paid next to nothing but has immense impact on games. The teams that can grab such talent for these low level picks at such high return are usually the ones getting to the playoffs and grabbing rings.
Enter Dallas Lloyd, a safety that will probably go in the back half of the draft who is the same size (6’2”) and weight (215) as pro bowl safety Harrison Smith. So what does he bring to the table and how can he not only make a team but get on the field?
Breaking down Dallas Lloyd -
There are three factors in play that help Lloyd find success early in his career, given he lands in the right spot.
1 - At Stanford he played free safety, the furthest player back and the last line of defense, but he also switched to strong safety since he was with Justin Reid and both could play in multiple spots. That means he could come up and play more of an enforcer role in the run game and against tight ends. In the traditional sense, strong safeties are like an extra linebacker. However, in today’s league they preferably play a role like Kam Chancellor, and make plays everywhere on the field in the perfect combination of size and speed. Lloyd can grow into that hybrid role because he has played both spots in college and has solid size.
2 - He plays sideline to sideline. With the impact that uptempo spread offense has had on the league it is important that a defender on the back half of the defense can play from the inside, all the way to the edge of he field. With how many screens and complicated route concepts defensive backs face, the advantage Lloyd has is playing in the PAC-12 through college. He has already weathered plenty of spread offenses before even hitting the pros, and can play the entire field both vertically and horizontally.
3 - The biggest factor in Lloyd’s favor is this is the new up and coming, big impact, must have position. The value a versatile safety cannot be priced. Look at what Chancellor does for Seattle, Tyrann Mathieu for Arizona, Devin McCourty for New England, Eric Weddle for the Ravens, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix for Green Bay or Smith for Minnesota. A really great safety is now expected to play center field in the back of the defense, but also come up and make plays against the running game, direct the defense, disrupt the quarterback on the blitz, play inside but also disrupt the outside play and come down to play man to man in the slot. The versatile safety is the pocket rocket of football and given some time, Lloyd can be groomed into such a player.
Dallas Lloyd would fit best with the New England Patriots:
While lots of teams would like a safety like him, he will need some development and a place where the pressure will not be put on him right away. That’s why the perfect spot is the New England Patriots. McCourty is a fantastic free safety and commander on the field. The Pats are could loosen up some money by getting Lloyd in and Duron Harmon out. With Patrick Chung the starting safety across from McCourty, Lloyd would make it a three deep rotation. While Lloyd does over pursue on some plays and follows some fakes a little to hard, his trust in his own instincts will prove valuable when he is honed into a pro football player. He would be a nice playmaker for the defending champions.