The Georgia defense feels like a parody rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know Davis and Dean and Cine and Kendrick. Smith and Walker and other Walker and Tindall. But do you recall perhaps the most underrated defender of them all? Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt doesn’t get the buzz that some of his teammates get, but Wyatt has a very enticing NFL Draft scouting report in his own right.
Devonte Wyatt NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Defensive tackle
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 315 pounds
Devonte Wyatt Scouting Report
It comes as no surprise that the defense that allowed just 83 points all season is loaded with 2022 NFL Draft prospects. The Bulldogs have big-time players at every level, but the defensive front might be the team’s most impressive unit. Even when putting Jalen Carter aside — who’s set to be a top prospect in 2023 — Georgia has three early-round picks in Jordan Davis, Travon Walker, and the aforementioned Wyatt.
All three defensive linemen come in different molds. Davis is the massive physical specimen who holds down the middle. Walker is the long, powerful chess piece that can line up anywhere and produce. In a way, Wyatt is a mix of the two. He’s built for the interior, but he has an enticing physical skill set and some versatility as well.
Devonte Wyatt’s athletic profile
Wyatt is not the monolith that Davis is, but he’s not the lanky disruptor that Walker is, either. Wyatt stands at 6’3″, 315 pounds, with a uniquely dense and stout frame. Within that frame, he stores a lot of power and energy. He brings a great first step and can reach the contact point quickly on reps.
Additionally, Wyatt has surprising lateral agility and twitch for his stout frame. He can spin off blocks and surge into space. To that end, he can also leverage his twitch into immense amounts of force at the point of attack. Wyatt’s lateral quickness allows him to manipulate leverage at a moment’s notice in the trenches. Furthermore, he flips his hips well when he has to change directions.
Wyatt’s explosiveness shows up in multiple phases. The Georgia DT can pry through lanes with his explosiveness alone, blowing up gaps. He also has surprising pursuit ability in the box. Although he shouldn’t drop into coverage consistently, he has decent closing speed and burst in the open field.
Moreover, Wyatt has exceptional flexibility, both in his upper and lower body. With his upper-body flexibility, he can absorb blocks and stay on his feet through contact. Meanwhile, his solid ankle flexion allows him to splice his way around blocks when he establishes a half-man relationship.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Wyatt is built to be an interior lineman in the modern NFL. But his explosive athleticism isn’t the only thing to be excited about. Wyatt also has some operational utility.
Wyatt has a strong upper body. He can generate great amounts of torque when ripping anchors. It helps that he generally plays with a good pad level. The Georgia DT can lean into targets and impose superior leverage. To that end, Wyatt also has good balance. His strong base allows him to maintain gap leverage, and he has good leg drive when anchored.
Going further, Wyatt shows promise with his hands. He has violent, forceful hands, and he flashes good hand usage. He can combine club and swim moves with his violence and agility and walk linemen back with bull rushes. Additionally, his violent hands enable him to disengage blocks quickly in run defense. From there, he can surge toward the ball carrier and seal off lanes.
Overall, Wyatt is a high-effort pass rusher who brings energy through the entire rep. He’s also exceedingly versatile for his build. He has reps anywhere from nose tackle to wide 9-technique, although he’s best between 1-technique and 4i. Wherever he lines up, Wyatt proactively uses his arms to disrupt passing windows as well.
Areas for improvement
Wyatt is a strong defensive tackle prospect, but there are some limitations to take note of. First off, Wyatt’s length, while decent, is not proportionally elite. This relative lack of elite length can prevent Wyatt from getting outside his opponent’s frame on stunts. It also inhibits his ability to consistently anchor and stand tall against double teams. Longer linemen can make first contact, negating Wyatt’s initial effectiveness.
Expanding on Wyatt’s areas for improvement, the Georgia DT can keep refining his hand usage as well. There’s room for him to be more consistent leveraging his explosiveness into power. Wyatt’s hands can be more precise when working in conjunction with his lateral agility. Moreover, his hand strikes can be cleaner. With his less-than-elite length, his margin for error is smaller.
Wyatt has promising flashes of polish as a pass rusher, but there are times when he doesn’t have a composed plan. He can be more calculated and direct with his hand usage. His extensions can be slow at times, and he doesn’t always exert his full violence capacity. The Bulldogs DT can also be a hair late reacting off the snap and give up too much cushion on stunts.
When Wyatt has successful pass-rushing reps, there are times when he over-pursues and fails to finish. He can also be a bit too upright at the contact point, effectively pausing his momentum.
Devonte Wyatt’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
Wyatt can strive for greater consistency as a pass rusher, but a lot of the hallmarks of a strong interior defender are there. He is explosive, tenacious, powerful, and well-balanced. He can get low, keep his balance, and flex to absorb power. And on top of all that, he has the lateral agility to manipulate leverage and keep blockers on their toes.
Better hand usage will allow Wyatt to further channel his physical traits. But already, he brings a lot of the desired qualities in a three-down defensive tackle. The Georgia product can hold down his gap in run defense with his strong base and natural leverage. And with his burst, agility, and force as a pass rusher, he can be a disruptor from multiple alignments.
Wyatt’s lack of elite length may dilute his upside somewhat, but he isn’t a liability there. His arms are long enough to give him baseline utility, and he has a great profile outside of that. Wyatt is a great Day 2 option, with visible starting talent and scheme versatility.
Devonte Wyatt’s Player Profile
Wyatt was a four-star recruit in the 2017 recruiting class. On the field, it was clear that he had a bright future. But academics kept him from making a direct leap to the FBS stage. Wyatt took a year detour at Hutchinson Community College, where he honed his craft while recapturing the spotlight on the recruiting stage.
In his one year at Hutchinson CC, Wyatt amassed 30 tackles, 3 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, and a blocked kick. It was enough to earn Wyatt interest from Power Five teams the next year. He originally committed to South Carolina, but when more schools began to enter the pool, he re-opened his recruitment and surveyed other options. From that point, Georgia quickly emerged as the favorite. And before long, Wyatt signed with the Bulldogs.
Wyatt’s career at Georgia
Wyatt joined the Bulldogs as a sophomore but quickly entered the defensive line rotation. Although he wasn’t a full-time starter, the JUCO product helped contribute in 2018, logging 19 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a pass deflecton. The following season was similar. Once again in a reserve role, Wyatt earned 30 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
2020 was Wyatt’s first season as a full-time starter on the Georgia front, but he largely went unnoticed alongside Davis. Wyatt held up his end with a steady 25-tackle, 2-TFL campaign — but 2021 was where his breakout would truly take hold.
In 2021, Wyatt has emerged as a legitimate pass-rushing threat on Georgia’s interior. In 10 games during the regular season, he accumulated 31 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble. With almost a dozen draft prospects to compete with, Wyatt carved out his own production. And in doing so, he drastically improved his draft stock.
Devonte Wyatt’s NFL Draft ascension
Wyatt may be an older rookie after taking a longer path through the JUCO ranks. But in a relatively uncertain defensive tackle class, his proven production and recent development are going to earn him plenty of fans in April. Forget the longer developmental track and look at what Wyatt is now. He’s an imposing, explosive, and hyper-dense defensive lineman with a hot motor, violent hands, and three-down utility.
As is the case with many prospects, Wyatt can attain further consistency. But his explosiveness and lateral agility are both extremely impressive for his size, and he also has good upper-body strength. At his peak, he can be a productive starter. Yet, as it stands, Wyatt’s physical traits should give him spark-plug ability in a rotation right away.