The Packers selected Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt with the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft. Fans of the team were hoping for a wide receiver in the first round, but the Packers doubled up on defense with Wyatt at 28 and fellow Georgia defensive prospect Quay Walker at 22.
The Packers also took a swing on a receiver quickly into Day 2, but we’ll talk more about that next week.
As for Wyatt, the Packers are getting a dominant playmaker in the trenches who will be a terrific partner for Kenny Clark. Both guys can line up in multiple positions along the defensive line, giving defensive coordinator Joe Barry plenty of flexibility based on weekly matchups.
Wyatt is known for his explosiveness, but after rewatching the tape on the former Georgia defender, there’s more than just flying into the backfield when it comes to the first-round pick.
As a run defender, Wyatt possesses a terrific anchor to hold his own, even against double teams, to avoid getting washed out. At 6’3” and 304 pounds, he’s able to keep his pads low and use his lower body to dig his feels into the dirt, making it hard for offenses to generate rushing lanes for their running backs.
The average fan may not appreciate the anchor in run support, but as you can see from the two clips below, it can have a significant impact on the defense because it allows his teammates to make plays right at the line of scrimmage.
Wyatt has a terrific anchor in run defense. It's so hard for O-linemen to push him around. pic.twitter.com/kV2Rbrv5aU— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
Wyatt (lined up over RG) doesn't give up any ground despite the combo block.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
Redirects RB to the outside, where Lewis Cine cleans up. pic.twitter.com/NLrkXhGyf1
For as large of a human as Wyatt is, his pad level is usually low. This allows him to win leverage battles and, with his play strength, he can blowback blockers and wreak havoc in the backfield.
This is why coaches constantly talk about keeping your pads low.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
Wyatt stays low and blows back the center so fast the TE runs into him.
Wyatt draws a holding call on the play. pic.twitter.com/tiBHxPe7eo
Weaker offensive linemen can be completely manhandled by Wyatt because of that pad level and play strength. He’s also a relentless player with excellent competitive toughness. Just watch him on this play against Arkansas as he throws the offensive guard off of him to swallow up the running back.
This is just a "get the hell off me" play.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
The left guard looks stunned for a second. pic.twitter.com/S9sQopu8xk
Wyatt’s hand usage is also quite developed, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering he played for one of the greatest defenses in college football history. Still, it’s nice to see a defensive lineman prospect come into the NFL already knowing how to effectively disengage from blockers.
Wyatt gets hooked here, but love how aggressive he is with his hands to disengage. pic.twitter.com/w6wcHBqpGs— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
That hand usage also shows up when Wyatt is able to set blockers up with his surprising quickness. This play in the College Football Playoff against Michigan is a great example of how quickly Wyatt can change direction. He utilizes a swim move once he creates a little separation to get into the quarterback’s face.
Love this move by Wyatt to get the OL off balance.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
Impressive quickness for a 300+ pound DL. pic.twitter.com/xCxSNC9DIE
Of course, we can’t go an entire preview on Wyatt without highlighting the explosiveness. What’s more impressive on rewatch is that Wyatt can still shoot out like a cannon from awkward angles, highlighting his athleticism.
I've seen this sack a few times before. I never noticed that Wyatt actually mistimes his jump off the snap.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
Amazed by how he recovers and gets into the pocket with ease. pic.twitter.com/YYnLadUAQw
Wyatt is so explosive off the snap. pic.twitter.com/UHX3CpLltZ— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
His 9.56 RAS shouldn’t surprise anyone after watching those clips, but the effort is where Wyatt proved himself to be worthy of a first-round selection. His athleticism, explosiveness, and effort to not give up on plays are likely why Kirby Smart felt comfortable enough using him as a QB spy on some plays.
This play with Wyatt running as a spy against Alabama in the SEC Championship highlights all of those things.
This is just a tremendous effort play.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) May 9, 2022
(Also imagine using a 300-pound DL as a QB spy lmao) pic.twitter.com/jZHA1usuR7
The Packers haven’t had an impact playmaker on the defensive line to take some of the pressure off of Kenny Clark. By drafting Wyatt, the Packers committed to improving in the trenches, and hopefully the results will speak for themselves in 2022.