Defensive tackle is one of the biggest needs the Las Vegas Raiders have this offseason. The Raiders’ top four at the position in 2021 are set to hit free agency, and Georgia's defensive tackle could fill that void. Devonte Wyatt has a unique combination of athleticism and strength to be one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL draft.
DT | Georgia | 6’ 2 3⁄4” 307 pounds | Decatur, GA | March 3rd, 1998 (23.9)
After spending a year at Hutchinson Community College, Devonte Wyatt transferred to Georgia as a four-star recruit and No. 3 JUCO defensive tackle, according to 247 Sports. He was a rotational player as a redshirt freshman and sophomore before earning a starting spot as a junior, racking up 113 total tackles, 12 for loss, five sacks and 89 pressures in Athens. The Decatur native would line up in several spots along the Bulldogs’ defensive line, anywhere from a zero-technique to a 4i and even on the edge for some passing downs.
- Good initial quickness off the ball, especially as a one-gapper
- He has the speed and a strong rip move to get penetration immediately and make tackles for loss when given a jet call
- Uses a nice swim move with impressive quickness and use of hands to be very effective against offensive linemen who like to lean
- Showed a solid push/pull move with the hip mobility to clear the lineman with his lower half and get a clean win
- Accurate with his initial chops on finesse moves and finishes with a violent rip and has flexible ankles to bend and turn a tight corner after being the blocker. Also, uses the blocker as leverage to help turn the corner.
- Has a quality spin move — inside or outside — to use as a counter and finishes it with a strong icepick to get the blocker off balance
- Efficient as the looper on stunts, he has the agility and athletic ability to gain ground while moving laterally and makes it look easy
- That violent rip move helps him draw the guard or tackle with him as the penetrator on line games, opening up rush lanes for teammates
- Gets his hands up and has the hand-eye coordination to bat passes at the line of scrimmage if he doesn’t get there with the rush
- Against the run, he has consistent and perfect hand placement on the offensive lineman’s chest with the strength to bench press guards and get extension against one-on-one blocks
- Takes on blocks with a nice wide base to overcome some of his pad level issues against weaker offensive linemen
- Very good agility and footwork when slanting to throw off blocker’s angles and make them miss; gains ground with his L-step, dips his shoulder and finishes with a tumb to trap rip
- Works the linemen’s hands to help get off blocks and has little to no issues doing so with his strength and use of hands
- Sure tackler with no problems bringing down running backs
Areas of Improvement
- When asked to two-gap, he can be slow to react to the snap and often false step
- Does have a habit of taking too big of a first step off the ball when one-gapping, which can cause him to get caught between steps and off-balance by offensive linemen
- Stands up out of his stance by about his second or third step that causes him issues holding up against double teams and could be problematic at the next level against base blocks
- Also likes to stop his feet on contact, causing more issues holding up against doubles
- Late to recognize and get underneath pullers as the spill player, is susceptible to getting trapped as a three-technique
- Against down blocks, he struggles to adjust his hands to fight back against the blocker coming from his side to avoid getting washed down
- 2018: Undisclosed (missed 1 game)
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 36th, 2nd round
After putting together an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wyatt start to climb into the back half of Round 1. I think he’s absolutely an option for the Raiders with the 22nd pick as he’d fill a need immediately and has the athletic potential to grow into an even more impactful player down the road. The former Bulldog would be best as a one-gapping three-technique and could even play as wide as a five-tech if new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham wants to run a more traditional 3/4 odd front scheme.
What do we need to know?
Is he strong enough to hold up against double teams? This will be Wyatt’s biggest Achille's heel heading into the NFL. I think his issues are more rooted in lapses of technique — high pad level, feet stopping, etc. — and he does have the strength, but there are times where I question the latter. Regardless, it’s going to be hard for him to stay on the field as an interior defender if he can’t at least hold his ground consistently against double teams.
Fit with the Raiders:
To me, Wyatt should be one of Las Vegas’ top realistic candidates in this draft class. He’s a quality player who fills a massive need and has the athletic potential to raise his ceiling for the future. I do worry about his ability to hold up against the run but the Bulldog’s pass rush is top-notch for a defensive tackle prospect.
Without knowing exactly what type of defense Graham wants to use — he’s stated in interviews he likes to use multiple looks — it’s hard to affirmatively say Wyatt is a good scheme fit. However, Graham’s flexibility and background as a defensive line coach should make the National Champion’s transition a lot smoother.
Devonte Wyatt (DLT) has some power in his hands:— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
-Gets his hands right to the OG's chest and has great pad level
-Knocks the OG backward and gets extension
-Holds his gap, waits until the RB commits and gets off the block to make a tackle outside of his gap https://t.co/dKG2LaV2pO
Doesn't lead to anything but this is a hell of a pass rush by Devonte Wyatt (DLT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
-Gets DBL teamed initially so works the rip move on the outside of the OG
-Defeats the OG and feels him leaning
-Uses a spin move with a perfect ice pick for an inside counter move, beats OG again https://t.co/EzAaEMr8Fc
Let Devonte Wyatt (DRT) one-gap and he can be a force:— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
-Decent get off & gains ground with first 3 steps
-Maintains low pad level, uses his speed and rip move to get penetration immediately
-Hard part is done, now he's just got to finish and make the TFL for about a 5-yard loss https://t.co/S55w2KKTx3
Darian Kinnard (LT) is also a high-quality prospect and Devonte Wyatt (LE) just push/pulls him with ease and shows some good bend to turn the corner https://t.co/MmDNXRw51B— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
Beautiful leverage, hand placement and leg drive (and some pure strength) and Devonte Wyatt (NLT) forces the center to hold on for dear life https://t.co/mVVfXgsCOE— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
Wyatt (DLT) plays a hand in flushing Young, but this is a rep that really shows off his bend for a 315-pound dude.— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
He starts at the 27 & gets to the top of the hash @ the 38 while having to across 4/5 OL, you're not going to find a lot of DTs that can move like that https://t.co/M7Rsx8S687
Perfectly executed slant by Devonte Wyatt (DLT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 8, 2022
-Takes a good L-step that gains ground laterally and vertically
-Dips the shoulder to reduce the surface area the OL has to block
-Finishes with a violent rip and drags his back foot thru, gets back to balance and makes the TFL https://t.co/kRkXNU4DFV