We continue our breakdown of 30 top NFL Draft prospects by turning toward the trenches once again.
We’re diving back into the trenches on the defensive side of the ball to take a look at a high motor, disruptive force from the Georgia Bulldogs in defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt.
DEVONTE WYATT’S COLLEGIATE CAREER
A four star recruit coming out of high school, Wyatt took the hard route by going the way of community college before joining the Georgia Bulldogs. With his grades needing to improve before suiting up at the SEC powerhouse, Wyatt enrolled at Hutchinson Community College back in 2017 where he had 30 tackles, three sacks, and four tackles for loss as a Freshman. Now able to transfer, Wyatt made his way to Athens and join the Bulldogs.
In his four seasons with Georgia, Wyatt finished with 113 total tackles, twelve tackles for loss, five sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. His most impressive season came in 2021 where he amassed 39 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks en route to a National Championship.
Outside of being a National Champion, Wyatt was named second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC in 2021.
Another impressive rep from Devonte Wyatt at nose. Violent. pic.twitter.com/bDTy7AdPjn— Matt Alkire (@mattalkire) April 1, 2022
PRO DAY AND SCOUTING COMBINE
Wyatt didn’t participate in all the measurable drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, but did have a 29” vertical, 111” broad jump, and ran a 4.77 40-yard dash. During many of the drills, Wyatt showed fluidity and agility with solid reaction time.
At Georgia’s Pro Day, Wyatt participated in the 3-cone drill - 7.45 seconds - as well as the shuttle - 4.63 seconds.
Wyatt was happy with his Pro Day performance, telling the media “I performed great. I know I did. I was moving fast, I felt healthy, I felt energetic. Like I said, I had a lot of fun doing it, too. So basically I felt like I did a great job.”
Devonte Wyatt is a DT prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.56 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 62 out of 1378 DT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/bjyfDxhOm7 #RAS pic.twitter.com/NoudTHBonR— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 25, 2022
WHAT WYATT CAN DO FOR THE BUCS IN 2022
Similar to what I said about Perrion Winfrey, Wyatt is an immediate plug-and-play starter along the defensive line. He’s a disruptor and can help Vea collapse the interior of the pocket to free up blitzers such as Lavonte David, Devin White, or Antoine Winfield Jr., or help free up the edge rushers to win their respective one-on-one matchups.
He isn’t as good as Vea in terms of getting to the quarterback - something Bruce Arians stressed they wanted in their defensive linemen - but Wyatt has shown flashes of that ability. At this point, it’s about refining and mastering those moves to create separation and giving himself an opportunity to hit the quarterback.
Wyatt also brings a confidence and winning pedigree to the Buccaneers. Coming off a National Championship, Wyatt has clearly shown his leadership abilities as well as knowing how to work with a team that has high expectations. If Ndamukong Suh comes back, Wyatt would be relegated to a rotational role at first before becoming the full time starter - a luxury in the first round that the Buccaneers may not be able to afford. Anyone they take with their first pick needs to be a player they are starting from the jump given the holes still on the roster.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein grades Wyatt at a 6.35, meaning he will become a “plus starter” and not someone who will be an immediate impact type of player, comparing him to Maliek Collins.
Devonte Wyatt has smooth hips pic.twitter.com/y9FLgkUGV9— Billy M (@BillyM_91) March 16, 2022
I’m a little more optimistic than Zierlein and believe that if Wyatt is the choice at 27, he’s going to have an impact from the jump. However, much like Vea, it won’t always show up on the stat sheet.
Wyatt also becomes a long term answer along the defensive line and someone that will work in tandem with Vea for years to come. With Suh going on one-year contracts year after year, Wyatt would give stability to the position until 2026 at the very least.
It also puts him in a situation where he’s working with one of the best defensive linemen - and defensive coaches - in the NFL. Those raw pass-rush moves that he has will become more refined and more effective, creating a dual threat player that can not only stop the run as effectively as any defensive lineman in the league but would then become a guy that can quickly shed tackles and get into the grill of the quarterback resulting in sacks, turnovers, or broken plays.
There’s no question that Wyatt will be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. The only question is where.
Over the course of the last week, mock drafts have Wyatt going anywhere from as high as 14 to the Baltimore Ravens to as low as 31 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Quite a few - including NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, NBC’s Adam Hermann, and Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling - have Wyatt going 27th to the Buccaneers.
There are plenty of places Wyatt can land, but it’s certainly far from certain that he’ll slip to the 20’s at all, let alone the late 20’s.
ON THE CLOCK...
Time for you to take on the role of Jason Licht and figure out if Devonte Wyatt really is that good and how important he may or may not be to the Buccaneers’ future. The NFL Draft is here and there are phones ringing across the league to shift and position for certain players.
Where does Devonte Wyatt fall on your list of priorities?
Let us know your thoughts through the poll and comments below!
The Buccaneers Should Target DT Devonte Wyatt In The NFL Draft...
This poll is closed
As Projected (1st Round)
Early (Trade Up To Late Teens)
Late (See If He Slips To Early Day Two)
Never. Shouldn’t Be On Their Board.
For more on this and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers check out James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!