According to Josh Norris of Underdog Sports, the Green Bay Packers met with former Georgia defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt on Tuesday. The Packers have had a lot of conversations with players from the most recent national championship team, as they’ve spoken to offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer virtually and also brought in receiver George Pickens for a visit.
At the moment, with 12 of Green Bay’s 30 visits known, Wyatt may be the highest draft pick among the players who have taken a trip to meet with the Packers this offseason. Per the consensus draft board, Wyatt is the 25th-ranked player in the 2022 NFL draft class, just behind Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks.
Here’s what you need to know about the first-round defensive tackle:
Wyatt started his high school career as a former running back and track athlete, with him famously cracking an 11-second 100-meter sprint as a prep. Despite his on-field success, though, he was unable to qualify to play at the University of Georgia coming out of high school and had to spend a year at the junior college level before he could jump up to play with the Bulldogs.
At Georgia, he was a two-year starter who took advantage of the fact that the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for any player who played in the 2020 season. Technically, he should have been a member of the 2021 NFL draft class but returned to play in 2021, when he earned First-Team All-SEC honors. The 2017 high school graduate turned 24 years old in March, meaning he’s on the older side for a draft prospect.
Had Wyatt’s teammate Jordan Davis not stolen the show at the combine, we’d all be talking about how Wyatt was the best defensive tackle athlete in the class. His relative athletic score, after a stellar 4.77-second 40-yard dash time at 304 pounds, is a 9.56 on a 10-point scale, good enough for 62nd all-time out of 1,378 total defensive tackle prospects.
Devonte Wyatt is a DT prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.56 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 62 out of 1378 DT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/bjyfDxhOm7 #RAS pic.twitter.com/NoudTHBonR— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 25, 2022
Wyatt is not a tweener but is hard to pin down a position for. Playing next to the 340-pound Davis, Wyatt, obviously, did not play nose guard in Georgia’s 3-4 front. Instead, Wyatt played 3-4 defensive end and played both under tackle and nose tackle when the team was in nickel looks. Is he a three-technique? He has film there. Is he a one-technique? He has film there. All in all, Wyatt’s closer to a “both” than a tweener in between positions.
His athleticism, particularly his lateral athleticism, shows up on film in Georgia’s blitz-heavy defense that often asks its defensive linemen to blitz and stunt well above the NCAA average. When asked to hold up at the point of attack, there are few defensive tackles in recent memory who do a better job of holding their ground and disengaging than Wyatt.
There are very few knocks about Wyatt’s game, but there are some question marks that Georgia’s defense didn’t answer. While the blitz-heavy defense had an insanely productive year, leading the team all the way to a national championship win, it asked defensive linemen to do so much stunting that they rarely got to pin their ears back and penetrate in the backfield, which is how NFL defensive linemen make their money. This is also a question mark about Travon Walker’s game, the potential first overall pick in April’s draft.
Because of this scheme limitation, you don’t see too many opportunities for Wyatt to showcase his explosiveness, especially when he’s typically a run-first defender when he isn’t being asked to move one or two gaps away at the snap of the ball. Like Davis, there are questions about what Wyatt can bring as a pass-rusher because the Bulldogs had such a deep defensive front that they had NFL-like sub-packages in pass-rushing situations, keeping their interior linemen off of the field on “passing downs.”
Again, these are not “what you see on film is poor” knocks as much as “the film did not answer these questions and the testing numbers are a projection” knocks.
Wyatt is a talented defensive tackle who has two major hangups: He’s already a 24-year-old and he did not play in a scheme that could showcase his explosive traits, which showed up in his combine testing. Despite those facts, he is a very athletic defensive tackle who played in an advanced defense that put a lot on the plate of their defensive linemen and he should be ready to contribute to an NFL roster immediately.
In terms of his fit with the Packers, he would likely be a 3-4 defensive end who could play either defensive tackle role when the team is in nickel, a similar role to what he did at Georgia. Wyatt may not be there when Green Bay is on the clock for the 22nd pick of the draft, but if he’s the first player the Packers select two Thursdays from now don’t be surprised.