A Closer Look at Green Bay Packers IDL Devonte Wyatt

Nov 2, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (95) celebrates during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (95) celebrates during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NFL Draft complete, we will continue our deep dive into each of the Green Bay Packers draft picks along with their UDFAs.

In these articles, I will be discussing the team needs at the respective positions; what the prospect’s role could end up being, stats from their college careers that you need to be aware of, and lastly, we will take a look at some pre-draft reports.

If you missed our look at linebacker Quay Walker, you can find that article here.

Next up is the Green Bay Packers selection at pick 28, interior defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt.

Need: As good as this Green Bay Packers defense looked on paper before the draft, the interior defensive line rotation still had its question marks outside of Kenny Clark.

While Dean Lowry had a career year in terms of pressures generated, realistically, he is due for at least some regression back to the norm this season. Hopefully, TJ Slaton can assume a larger role and, with that, make a larger impact; however, he is a former fifth-round pick entering only his second season–so there is some unknown around him as well.

Jarran Reed was a nice addition, who should be able to impact both the run and passing game, but when looking towards the future — which is what the draft is about — he is in Green Bay on only a one-year deal. If we look ahead to 2023, Clark and Slaton were the only players under contract at the position before this past weekend.

After those four players, the only other player on the roster at the position was Jack Heflin, who saw very limited playing time in 2021. With only five players at the position, at the very minimum, bolstering the depth was a must.

One of the bigger issues last season for the Green Bay defense was their play against the run, as the Packers ranked 28th in Football Outsiders’ rush-DVOA metric and 30th in yards per rush allowed. So again, there is certainly room for improvement here–not to mention that even with Clark, Rashan Gary, and Preston Smith, there is no such thing as having too many players who can get after the quarterback.

Role: I have to admit, as good as Wyatt was at Georgia, he wasn’t really on my radar as a first-round pick for the Green Bay Packers–the main reason being his age. As I’ve brought up before, since 2009, every first-round pick made by Green Bay has been 22 years of age or younger, and Wyatt is 24. So Brian Gutekunst certainly broke the mold in that regard when making this pick.

When it comes to Wyatt’s role on the 2022 Green Bay Packers, he will be an immediate member of the rotation, and if at the end of the season, we look back and say that he made the biggest impact out of any member of this rookie class, I won’t be surprised whatsoever.

Wyatt primarily lined up in the B-gap during his time at Georgia and can be a three-down player, holding up at the point of attack with the best of them and possessing rare athleticism for his size that allows him to win quickly and that will aid him in getting after the quarterback.

When you have this presence on the field — along with Clark — pretty much the entire defense will benefit. The best way to wreck any play is with instant pressure up the middle, which will help the secondary. With Wyatt’s ability to take up space and occupy blockers, he will keep the linebackers and safeties clean to make plays while also taking away double-teams that the edge rushers may have to contend with.

Having Wyatt in the middle will also allow Joe Barry to move Clark around more in search of those valuable one-on-one opportunities. We saw more of this from Clark in 2021, and he ended up having one of his most productive seasons as a pass-rusher.

In Green Bay’s base nickel defense, they now have the ability to have a very athletic interior defensive line combination with Clark and Wyatt paired together.

Stats to Know: Over Wyatt’s final three seasons, in which he averaged 338 snaps per year, he would record 63 pressures with four sacks, all of which came in 2021, and 10.5 tackles for loss. He is a sound tackler as well, having missed only six over his entire career on 80 total attempts.

Wyatt was PFF’s highest-graded interior defensive lineman this past season while also ranking ninth against the run and sixth as a pass-rusher.

What the draft analysts had to say about Devonte Wyatt

Lance Zierlein – NFL.com

"“Highly active defensive tackle with decent strength,” said Zierlein. “Wyatt is made for movement and disruptions. He helped himself in 2021 with better tape both against the run and as a pass rusher. His lateral quickness is useful in beating zone blocks and in sliding across the front in a game-based pass rush. Wyatt has adequate strength but struggles to withstand a second blocker. The traits are average, but the effort is consistent and Wyatt should fit nicely as a rotational, gap-seeking three-technique with disruptive flashes.”"

Daniel Jeremiah – NFL.com

"“Wyatt is a thick/square defensive tackle with spectacular quickness,” said Jeremiah. “He flashes some big-time ability as a pass rusher, getting off the ball with nice burst and leverage. He has collected pressures/sacks with quick arm-overs, nifty spins and power. He is really dynamic when he changes directions, crossing the face of his opponent. His stats don’t jump off the page, but that was more the result of all the talent around him on Georgia’s defense. Against the run, he keeps a low pad level and controls the point of attack. He has stellar range. Wyatt has tremendous upside and could emerge as the top interior lineman in this class.”"