NAME: Devonte Wyatt
HEIGHT: 6’2 3/4″
WEIGHT: 307 lbs
CLASS: Super Senior
HOMETOWN: Decatur, GA
HIGH SCHOOL: Towers
Wyatt’s ascension as a high school prospect began on the track, a normal starting point for most skill position players but an odd one for a 280 pound defensive tackle. Wyatt’s competitive spirit always was a calling card of his, so he asked his track coach to let him run in the 100m during a dual meet. After winning the shot put and thus convincing his coach to let him race, Wyatt won the race.
Without using blocks, instead exploding out of a three point stance. At 280 pounds. In Air Force Ones. With no prior track experience. In under 12 seconds.
After his football coach posted the video of said race to YouTube, the offers came piling in. First was Oregon State, whose lead recruiter was fraternity brothers with the Towers head coach. South Florida, Georgia State, North Carolina State came calling next. All this hype rose his stock to that of a 4 star recruit. After running a 4.8 40 at a South Carolina camp before his senior season, the Gamecocks offered and Wyatt committed on the spot.
This didn’t sit well with the hometown Bulldogs, who wanted Wyatt to stay in-state but needed him to get his grades up before they were comfortable offering a scholarship. South Carolina forced Georgia’s hand, the Dawg offer came weeks later, and Wyatt flipped.
Despite all this, Wyatt was deemed academically ineligible prior to the 2017 season and took a detour at Hutchinson Community College. After a year getting his academics in order, neither he nor Georgia wavered from his commitment and he joined the Dawgs in 2018.
After 3 seasons in Athens, Wyatt drew interest from the Senior Bowl, but decided to return to school to run things back with Jordan Davis, his best friend on the team. After a 39 tackle season with 7 for loss and 2.5 sacks, Wyatt proved himself worthy of an invite yet again in 2021.
GAMES WATCHED: 2021 – Clemson, Kentucky, Alabama
For an explanation of Alex’s grading scale, refer to this article.
Power – 50/80 (Average): Wyatt’s power leaves a bit to be desired at times, although I think it results more from technical misfires than a lack of actual strength. He can be a tad reactionary at the snap, which results in a slow first step that saps some power once he hits the point of attack. On reps where that happened, I noticed him getting beat by powerful linemen. There’s also flashes of a high-tier bull rush, so I expect him to make some strides if he can solve his technical issues.
Explosiveness – 70/80 (Star): If you couldn’t tell from the introduction, Wyatt is going to test off the charts. Apart from the straight-line speed he’s shown on various occasions, I think he’s a fantastic lateral mover for his size. Again, his reactionary nature at the snap hurts him a bit, but that’s more a football IQ thing and less of an explosiveness problem.
Run Defense – 65/80 (Star): I like Wyatt’s ability to disengage from blocks and get skinny through gaps to penetrate the backfield. On outside runs, he has the juice as an athlete to chase down ballcarriers in many instances. However, there were a few times I thought he got washed out of plays when he didn’t win immediately. Developing some counters to work his way back into plays will be key for him.
Pass Rush – 55/80 (Above Average): Wyatt’s production as a pass rusher is inconsistent snap to snap, but the reps where he puts it all together give me a lot of hope for him as a pro. Georgia moved him all over the line during his time there, so he has experience with pass rushing out on the edge. That said, those were most often the reps where I thought he struggled. As an interior rusher from 3 tech, though, I think he’ll be good enough to make an impact.
Motor – 75/80 (Elite): Competitive spirit is woven into every part of Wyatt’s identity, and it shows in spades on the field. With how much Georgia rotates their linemen, questions about his stamina might be fair, but I think he played with high energy when he was in the game and feel comfortable with giving him a full workload going forward.
Tackling/Pursuit – 70/80 (Star): The energy and effort Wyatt plays with leads to a ton of pursuit plays that pop off the screen. For example, against Alabama, he chased down QB Bryce Young over half the field and forced a fumble 10 yards downfield. I didn’t notice any problems with his general tackling, either, whether it was at the line of scrimmage or in space.
Pad Level – 60/80 (Above Average): I like the general pad level Wyatt plays with – off the snap, he stays low and maintains leverage on opposing linemen. It helps that he generates a ton of power from his lower body, which helps him retain a low center of gravity.
Hands – 70/80 (Star): Despite it not being his most highly graded trait, Wyatt’s hands might be my favorite thing about him. They move so quickly and violently, which helps him disengage from blocks even when his reaction to snaps comes a bit slowly. His swim and club pair and chain together well.
Versatility – 65/80 (Star): Thanks to the amount of talent Georgia had on the line, Wyatt moved around a ton in order to stay on the field. I liked his reps best at 1 and 3 tech, but think he’ll primarily be a 3 tech at the next level. With the experience in other alignments, he’ll give defensive coordinators some nice exotic concepts to work with.
Frame – 55/80 (Above Average): Wyatt is a bit short for DT, but he generates plenty of pass deflections at the line. That points to his timing, but also alleviates any concerns about his ability to stick. At 300 pounds, he’s a bit over the average weight for the position, but he carries that weight well and is still remarkably explosive.
Ceiling – 65/80
Red Flags – 10/10: Wyatt does have a February 2020 arrest for criminal trespassing/property damage with a family violence designation, but it doesn’t appear that any internal action was taken following the dismissal of the charges that June. As such, I’m not going to ding him for it.
Final Grade (w/o RAS): 7.79
Round Grade: 2nd
Summary: One on one reps in the trenches at the Senior Bowl are often won by the freak athletes, and Devonte Wyatt is no different. He’s put together a very nice week thanks to his explosive athleticism, with some wondering if he’ll potentially be a top 40 pick come April. With many of these Senior Bowl standouts, the hype doesn’t match the tape, but with Wyatt, it certainly comes close. The explosiveness he’s shown in Mobile is evident on film – I fully expect him to post some downright alien testing numbers at the combine in March. Combine that with a fantastic competitive spirit and playmaking desire and it’s easy to see why Wyatt has become a media favorite.
Wyatt isn’t a perfect prospect – nobody is. That said, I think that nearly all of his flaws are of the eminently fixable variety. He loses reps to powerful linemen, but that’s generally because of a reactionary first step. The pass rush production comes and goes, but it’s easy to talk yourself into that being because of Georgia rotating linemen in and out and killing his momentum. If you get him consistent reps and work on his instincts at the snap to help round out his game, I think he has potential to be a guy that reaches an All-Pro level for a season or two.
While he works towards that ceiling, there’s still plenty to suggest he’ll be a successful starter early on. There’s violent intent and quickness in his hands in every rep, he’s a fantastic lateral athlete, he has experience at 1 and 3 tech. In a IDL class whose premier members have nearly all been present in Mobile, Wyatt has more than proved he’s among the best of the bunch. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wyatt is the second or third IDL off the board, especially if you consider Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal an EDGE player.
Follow Alex on Twitter @alexkatson.