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Devonte Wyatt
NFL Draft

Devonte Wyatt Deserves More 1st-Round Buzz

  • Ryan Fowler
  • February 22, 2022
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As April rapidly approaches and mock drafts kick into warp speed, while names projected to go in the top 15 will maneuver slightly post combine and pro day, the latter half of the round will enjoy a de facto musical chairs act as processions complete in Indianapolis, interviews are held, and free agency gets underway. In a first round where anything is to be expected with no clear microscope to identify even the top three selections, a high-ceiling athlete that represented the core of one of CFB's most historic defenses has generated little night-one buzz, and surprisingly so. A three-down interior defender with scheme and alignment versatility, while Devonte Wyatt’s numbers fail to jump out at you like some of CFB’s most heralded front four defenders this fall, his ability to consistently push the pocket as a defensive tackle and create chaos within opposing backfields remained consistent with the dominance that was Georgia’s defense all campaign long—with a much larger frame than edge defenders like Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Kingsley Enagbare. Aligned as a 1-tech, 3-tech, or 5-tech along the Bulldogs’ defensive front, it didn’t matter where No. 95 was, havoc followed. Although the mountain of a man in Jordan Davis and sideline-to-sideline blazer Nakobe Dean garnered much of the attention this fall, often looked upon as the unsung hero along the Georgia front, Wyatt was the straw that stirred the drink for Kirby Smart’s CFP-title-winning group. While his prowess as a defender with his hand in the dirt proved to be too much for opposing linemen early and often on a weekly basis this autumn, the unique ways defensive coordinator (now Oregon head coach) Dan Lanning utilized Wyatt, at times, was mesmerizing. Upwards of 310 pounds of man, deploying Wyatt as a QB spy, is, well, laughable… in the most complimentary way possible. Men of that stature shouldn’t be able to stand up at inside linebacker and track down a signal-caller outside of the pocket. It’s one thing to deploy Wyatt in the role, but it invites a completely new skill set to showcase the necessary burst to fill such a spot within that defensive package, again, at 310 pounds. It’s not normal.  Teams in need of help along the defensive front, specifically on the edge, have found themselves with a hefty amount of leverage entering the draft. A scenario that has developed where teams could throw names into a hat and pick out a potential double-digit per year sack talent, organizations looking for the big uglies in the middle aren’t so fortunate, with minimal high-end talent to pick from on night one. However, Wyatt deserves much more run.  While the aforementioned Davis and Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal look to be the league favorites as the top two interior defenders to come off the board first, if you’re the Los Angeles Chargers (No. 17) or Buffalo Bills (No. 25), a hard look at Wyatt shouldn’t be scoffed at—it could be the optimal solution. With three-down value, a constantly hot motor, and a skill set among the interior elite in this year’s talent pool, film and the old-fashioned eye test rarely fail.  When it comes to Wyatt, a four-year contributor along the Bulldogs’ front, an All-SEC selection, and second-team All-American this season, while his game may not represent the sexiest pick of the bunch, his performance ceiling along the interior, however, remains among the highest of any defensive lineman in the class.

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Ryan Fowler