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Devonte Wyatt, the Seahawks sleeping giant?
Seaside Joe 1146: At least one draft analyst sees Wyatt as a good fit for Seattle in the top-10
In his review of the defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft, Chris Simms ranked Devonte Wyatt as his second-best in the class behind Georgia teammate Jordan Davis. And there’s really nothing surprising about that, most people have Davis and Wyatt as the top-two defensive tackles in the draft. What is surprising is that Simms sees both Davis and Wyatt as top-10 picks, seeing a Vita Vea-level impact from whichever teams draft them.
Simms also notes that he sees Seattle as a perfect fit for Wyatt, but I’m not entirely sure that Simms (or anyone for that matter) can say right now what fits Clint Hurtt’s 2022 defense. The Wyatt review starts at 17:30, which I’ve queued up:
“The film is as good or better than Quinnen Williams,” says Simms of Wyatt. Simms says that Georgia asked him to “two-gap” a lot and that style of play is not his cup of tea, but instead he should be used more like Warren Sapp: “It’s 3-technique, explosive off the ball, create havoc and mess up the play. He’s a “fuck-up-the-play” guy.”
That get-off is also what stood out for Wyatt at the Senior Bowl, which is another sign that the Seahawks definitely should have eyes on Wyatt.
His get-off might be the best of any interior defender in this year's draft, and that's certainly rung true at the Senior Bowl thus far. It's strikingly quick for the 307-pounder and, most importantly, repeatable, which helped him record a strong 13.1 percent mark in Pro Football Focus' pass rush win rate metric during his senior season. He was also one of the top run-stuffers in the nation, displaying an imposing physicality that SEC guards and centers struggled mightily to stave off.
Wyatt was a sought after recruit coming out of high school but he did need to spend one year in JuCo to get his grades up before transferring to Georgia in 2018. He posted just five tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks over his first three seasons, then seven TFL, including 2.5 sacks in 2021. He also forced a fumble against Arkansas and against Alabama, the first two of his career.
Lance Zierlein gives Wyatt a 6.35 grade, which equals “Will eventually be a plus-starter” in Zierlein’s eyes, and compares him to Maliek Collins. A good player but certainly not a first round pick.
Highly active defensive tackle with decent strength. 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.
Wyatt’s got elite testing numbers for a defensive tackle but he’s also ‘undersized’—which more and more seems to be a red flag that might actually be a green light… It seems that a lot of the best value draft picks in NFL history came with the tag of “the size doesn’t match how great this guy is on the field.” Some of those undersized players certainly meet their match in the NFL, so we should never throw that aside and ignore it, but a lot of pass rushers have excelled despite things like “too short” (Elvis Dumervil), “too light” (Aaron Donald), and “short arms” (Melvin Ingram).
TouchdownWire highlighted some of Wyatt’s best plays of 2021, making note of his explosive get-off, getting and advantage with power, and winning on the counter.
If you only listen to the positives about Wyatt, especially Simms obviously, then you must expect Wyatt to be selected in the top-15 picks. However, if the Seahawks do draft Wyatt with the ninth pick it’s a move that nobody else seems to expect. At NFLMockDraftDatabase.com, Wyatt’s average projection is 25th and no mock draft that they’ve compiled recently has Wyatt going higher than 15th, while a couple have him going to the Chargers at 17.
Most seems to expect Wyatt to land in the 20-32 range, if not out of the first round entirely.
But I will say that I’ve always admired Simms’ rankings, even though we all know that nobody is ever right about everything. Everyone will have bad evaluations. I just think that Simms clearly makes his rankings without paying attention or giving credence to what others are saying and goes off of how he feels about the prospects, which is all I expect from a person when they’re saying, “These are my rankings.”
It was in 2019 that Chris Simms did his QB rankings and he had Daniel Jones at his #6 quarterback. Not the 6th-best player at any position—which he sort of ended up as when the Giants picked him sixth overall—but Simms didn’t think Jones would ever be a starter in the NFL. Three years later, his evaluation looks pretty good there. His number one QB in 2019? Kyler Murray.
His number two QB and a guy who Simms was quite high on a few years ago, maybe someone who still has a chance to prove Simms right? Drew Lock.
If the Seahawks are targeting Devonte Wyatt (Seattle’s meeting with Mario Addison could serve two roles: Insurance if they don’t get “their guy” in the draft OR as a veteran mentor to a player a lot like Devonte Wyatt or Jordan Davis) then I would have to imagine that John Schneider works to find a trade down partner to increase his draft capital while still landing the disruptive defensive lineman that he’s looking for. There may be a significant drop off in his DT class after Travis Jones or the top three or four in the group, and Seattle must target an interior player who will disrupt the passing game—my concern with Davis is that he won’t do that.
I don’t have the same reservations about Wyatt, but he’s not a top-10 pick.
How would you feel about the Seahawks using their first pick on Devonte Wyatt? Would you rather have Jordan Davis or Travis Jones instead?