NAME: Devonte Wyatt
POSITION: Interior Defensive Line
WEIGHT: 313 lbs
CLASS: Super Senior
HOMETOWN: Decatur, Georgia
HIGH SCHOOL: Towers
Devonte Wyatt was a four-star recruit coming out of Hutchinson Community College. Near the end of his time in JUCO he was looked at by Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. He would commit and then de-commit to South Carolina before officially committing to the Bulldogs. Wyatt has been a big part of Kirby Smart’s defensive line rotation since he came to the school. In the spring of 2020, Wyatt was arrested with a misdemeanor charge for criminal trespass, damage to property, and family violence. Not much has been heard of since that incident, such as disciplinary actions taken by Smart. It seems as if things have been handled internally and Wyatt has worked to better himself since. Considering he has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, it seems as though Wyatt has bounced back.
Games watched: vs LSU (2019), vs Kentucky (2020), vs Clemson (2021), and vs Alabama (2021)
Power – 70: There’s not much that needs to be said here about Wyatt’s power level. He is incredibly strong and violent as a defensive lineman. He is strong enough to fight through double teams and seasoned linemen. Wyatt is almost impossible to get away from when he gets his hands on you. He constantly causes offensive linemen to get knocked back or knocked out of his way. There are times when his power can be taken down a notch when he gets chipped in the side. Moments like those can take him out of plays.
Explosiveness – 60: When his legs are fresh he is one of the most explosive interior linemen I have seen in a while. He jumps off the snap and goes straight into his pass rush maneuvers. There are times towards the end of the game where it seems he loses that pep in his step. He no longer will be the first defensive lineman off the line at the snap. When he is at his peak he is a handful to take care of. The questions of stamina among Georgia pass rushers continue. Can he be a part of a defense where he doesn’t get to consistently rotate in and out?
Run Defense – 70: Run defense is Wyatt’s bread and butter. He has a nose for the ball and always seems to find a way to shut down or at least affect run plays. Wyatt does a great job of stacking blockers and positioning himself to make plays on the ball. He can eat up blockers and he can eat up gaps. He keeps his head on a swivel to make plays that are even going on behind him. Wyatt also uses momentum to his advantage. He understands objects in motion stay in motion, so he will take an offensive lineman on a ride and then throw him to the side when the ball comes to him.
Pass Rush – 55: When it comes to pass-rushing he is strictly a power rusher. His best moves are rip, bull-rushing, and his club. He excels best in 1v1 situations where he can isolate one guy and knock him back. Wyatt struggles the most when he is forced to become a speed rusher and stunt from the inside to the edge. He is just simply not quick enough or flexible enough to make that work. He can do his job and affect plays, just don’t expect “out of this world” sack numbers.
Motor – 70: One of the biggest aspects that I respect from Wyatt’s game is his ability to never give up on a play. He is constantly trying to break free and disengage from offensive linemen. If his first move doesn’t work he still tries. He may get gassed earlier than most would like but he still tries and doesn’t take plays off.
Tackle/Pursuit – 65: His tackling is very solid. Wyatt is strong enough to stop runners in their tracks with his arm, causing gang tackling to follow. He can also wrap up and deliver a big hit when necessary. When he gets you in his reach he rarely lets you go. When it comes to pursuing plays he gives great effort and even goes after plays that are far beyond him.
Pad Level – 60: In 2019 and 2020, Wyatt really struggled with his pad level. At times he would come in too high and get stood up, ending his progress. In 2021 this seems to have improved some. He is no longer getting bent back and is no longer ending up on the ground all the time. In some ways, he also could do a better job of squaring up at the point of attack and not using his shoulder to try and knock guys back.
Hands – 60: At the point of attack he goes straight for the chest of the defender. His initial goal is to knock you back and take you by surprise. He doesn’t get engaged for too long. Typically he is able to disengage from offensive linemen whenever he needs to. He struggles some when he is asked to be in a 0 tech, but for the most part, he does a good job. In pass-rush scenarios when he is unable to reach the quarterback, he gets his hands up.
Versatility – 70: The perks of working in a Kirby Smart defense is that you are asked to do a lot of different things. Through his time at Georgia, he has been asked to run every kind of tech you can count. He seems to have the most success in a 2 or 3 tech and he has the least success in a 0 or 1 tech.
Frame – 65: Standing at 6’3” and 315lbs, Wyatt has a good frame to be an interior defensive lineman for a team that runs a 4-3 front. Considering his struggles at the 0 tech, it’s hard to see him succeeding in a 3-4 front. He needs his hand in the dirt and he needs to be able to manipulate the gaps. The best way for him to do that with his size is in a 4-3.
Final Grade: 6.97
Round Grade: 3rd
Summary: Although a 3rd round grade feels safe, I feel Wyatt can definitely go earlier than that. There are a few things that NFL teams have to work through with him. The first is his off-the-field issues in the past. While there doesn’t seem to be any more issues from him, it’s still something that the NFL teams will ask about. Also, there is the issue regarding Georgia defensive linemen and their stamina. Smart has his linemen on a rotation to constantly keep fresh legs attacking the ball carrier. How will Wyatt do in a defense where he will not get nearly as many plays off as he would have at Georgia? This is an issue that has already been brought up with his teammate Jordan Davis. It will be interesting to see how Wyatt will do when more is asked of him.
Wyatt offers a lot to a team that needs help stopping the run. He can’t offer much help in the pass-rushing area but he can contribute some. His ability to understand gaps, how to stack blockers, and combining those two abilities in order to disrupt game plans is really fun to watch. He demands attention from an offensive game plan which would give him significant value. I can easily see Wyatt being a part of a defensive line in 2022 as a valuable contributor.
Follow Austin @ArmchairAustin.