Green Bay Packers Rookie Preview: Devonte Wyatt

Defensive line depth was a need for the Green Bay Packers this offseason, and they left the 2022 NFL Draft with a huge playmaker in the trenches.

The Packers selected Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt with the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft. Fans of the team were hoping for a wide receiver in the first round, but the Packers doubled up on defense with Wyatt at 28 and fellow Georgia defensive prospect Quay Walker at 22.

The Packers also took a swing on a receiver quickly into Day 2, but we’ll talk more about that next week.

As for Wyatt, the Packers are getting a dominant playmaker in the trenches who will be a terrific partner for Kenny Clark. Both guys can line up in multiple positions along the defensive line, giving defensive coordinator Joe Barry plenty of flexibility based on weekly matchups.

Wyatt is known for his explosiveness, but after rewatching the tape on the former Georgia defender, there’s more than just flying into the backfield when it comes to the first-round pick.

As a run defend, Wyatt possesses a terrific anchor to hold his own, even against double teams, to avoid getting washed out. At 6’3” and 304 pounds, he’s able to keep his pads low and use his lower body to dig his feels into the dirt, making it hard for offenses to generate rushing lanes for their running backs.

The average fan may not appreciate the anchor in run support, but as you can see from the two clips below, it can have a significant impact on the defense because it allows his teammates to make plays right at the line of scrimmage.

For as large of a human as Wyatt is, his pad level is usually low. This allows him to win leverage battles and, with his play strength from him, he can blowback blockers and wreak havoc in the backfield.

Weaker offensive linemen can be completely manhandled by Wyatt because of that pad level and play strength. He’s also a relentless player with excellent competitive toughness. Just watch him on this play against Arkansas as he throws the offensive guard off of him to swallow up the running back.

Wyatt’s hand usage is also quite developed, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering he played for one of the greatest defenses in college football history. Still, it’s nice to see a defensive lineman prospect come into the NFL already knowing how to effectively disengage from blockers.

That hand usage also shows up when Wyatt is able to set blockers up with his surprising quickness. This play in the College Football Playoff against Michigan is a great example of how quickly Wyatt can change direction. He utilizes a swim move once he creates a little separation to get into the quarterback’s face.

Of course, we can’t go an entire preview on Wyatt without highlighting the explosiveness. What’s more impressive on rewatch is that Wyatt can still shoot out like a cannon from awkward angles, highlighting his athleticism.

His 9.56 RAS shouldn’t surprise anyone after watching those clips, but the effort is where Wyatt proved himself to be worthy of a first-round selection. His athleticism, explosiveness, and effort to not give up on plays are likely why Kirby Smart felt comfortable enough using him as a QB spy on some plays.

This play with Wyatt running as a spy against Alabama in the SEC Championship highlights all of those things.

The Packers haven’t had an impact playmaker on the defensive line to take some of the pressure off of Kenny Clark. By drafting Wyatt, the Packers committed to improving in the trenches, and hopefully the results will speak for themselves in 2022.

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