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(Lead photo: © Trevor Ruszkowski | March 4, 2022)

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday in Las Vegas and a handful of prospects from California are projected to be taken over the three-day, seven-round draft. Ahead of Thursday, we're keying in on the likely first round picks from the Golden State. We began with Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. Now it's time to focus on Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, an Otay Ranch High School graduate.

Devin Lloyd

Linebacker, 6-3, 237, Otay Ranch High School

The skinny: Lloyd redshirted his first season at Utah in 2017 before going on to play in 47 games the next four seasons. Lloyd started 32 of his final 33 games at Utah and was a finalist for the Butkus Award in both 2020 and 2021. Following this past season, Lloyd's play earned him consensus All-American honors.

What The Ringer's Danny Kelly says: "Lloyd is a super-productive playmaker with great length, high-end athleticism, and instincts in both coverage and run defense; he brings the versatility to wear several different hats for a defense."

Kelly's player comparison: Isaiah Simmons

Where will Lloyd get picked?

Lloyd appears to be a lock first round selection. Several mock drafts have Lloyd going at No. 19 to the New Orleans Saints. He is in contention to be the first linebacker selected alongside Georgia's Nakobe Dean.