The Detroit Lions are back on the clock in the second round of POD’s Community Mock Draft and they made sure not to waste the opportunity to grab a third defender from the nation’s top defense.
POD Community Mock Draft picks so far:
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
- Detroit Lions: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
- Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
- New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
- New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
- New York Giants: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- Atlanta Falcons: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- Seattle Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
- New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Washington Commanders: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
- Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
- Houston Texans: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
- Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
- Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
- Los Angeles Chargers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
- New Orleans Saints: Drake London, WR, USC
- Philadelphia Eagles: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
- New England Patriots: Zion Johnson, iOL, Boston College
- Green Bay Packers: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
- Arizona Cardinals: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
- Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green, iOL, Texas A&M
- Buffalo Bills: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
- Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
- Green Bay Packers: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
- Kansas City Chiefs: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
- Kansas City Chiefs: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
- Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
- Lions: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
- Jaguars: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
After selecting Walker and Dean with the Lions' two first-round picks, I was presented with an opportunity to grab yet another Georgia defender at No. 34, and the choice came down to defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt and safety Lewis Cine.
Cine represents appropriate value for the pick and would be a significant addition to an obvious position of need, but as I have expressed during the last two years of POD community mock drafts: I’m all about picking the best player available and will opt for value over positional need, especially during a rebuild.
And thus my selection of Wyatt, who may arguably be the best defensive tackle in this draft class.
Devonte Wyatt’s 2020 arrest
First, I want to address some exaggerated reports I have seen about Wyatt’s off-the-field character stemming from a 2020 arrest. These potential issues have been brought up on a few draft websites, as well as by POD readers in our comment section.
In February of 2020, Wyatt and a female companion were allegedly in a verbal argument on Georgia's campus that escalated to a point that he kicked open an exterior door, causing damage. The police were called and the end result was three misdemeanor charges assigned to Wyatt: “family violence, criminal trespass, and damage to property, according to the Clarke County Sherriff's website”, via the Athens Banner-Herald.
All three charges were dismissed a few months later, and the following statement from the prosecution was given to the Athens Banner-Herald:
“After carefully reviewing the evidence and consulting with the alleged victim, we decided to dismiss the case in the interests of justice,” Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General C.R. Chisholm said Friday via email to the Athens Banner-Herald.
These recent reports offer a reminder to readers to be sure they are reading trusted sources rather than draft websites moving too quickly without gathering all the information.
For example, in this case alone, it was reported that Wyatt had multiple incidents of violence against his family, including assaults. But in reality, he had one alleged incident with multiple (three) charges (all dismissed). One of which was elevated to “family violence” because the female involved had lived with Wyatt on and off, and there were no assault charges filed.
Additionally, one website claims to have spoken with an NFL general manager, who told them that Wyatt’s character red flags were enough to take him off their board. Maybe that is true. But as noted in this past weekend’s mock draft roundup, it’s lying season in the NFL and teams are often putting out false information with the hopes of creating a situation that benefits their team. There is no motivation for teams to tell the truth this time of year, so these reports need to be questioned as much as they are to be believed.
What Devonte Wyatt would bring to the Lions
The Lions had noted that they plan to shift to a four-man front base formation while also relying on three-man fronts situationally. While that means the team doesn't need as much depth on the interior, they still need, at a minimum, four defensive tackles that can rotate, as well as players capable of operating in multiple fronts.
Despite adding two defensive tackles on Day 2 of the 2021 draft (Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill) and leaning on veteran Michael Brockers to start, the final spot is wide open and would assuredly be Wyatt’s if they drafted him at this spot.
Wyatt was a two-year starter in Georgia’s two-gapping scheme, mostly lining up as a penetrating three-technique, but saw some snaps at the one-technique at times as well. In the Lions' scheme, he would primarily play at the 3T and be asked to attack the ball, while also being able to shift to the 4i and 5T when the Lions deploy a three-man front.
Wyatt possesses an elite first step and is able to win with multiple pass-rushing moves—a trait the Lions are desperate for on the interior. He has excellent bend when leveraging offensive linemen, leaning on his power to reset the line of scrimmage.
One of his best traits is his lateral quickness, where he can both disrupt the pocket and track the ball down the line through traffic. His ability to properly fill gaps and stop the run is huge for NFL teams. He displays above-average power, can settle down as an anchor, and is difficult to move off his spot. Like most Georgia defenders, power is a signature trait and his motor doesn’t stop.
As versatile as Wyatt is, he is not without his flaws. Sometimes he doesn't always marry his feet to his upper body which can throw off his balance. He can also get too locked on with his opponent at times, which can result in tracking issues. And again, like most Georgia defenders, you have to be comfortable with his limited production, as the scheme and rotation of five-star athletes temper his box scores.
Wyatt has not yet reached his full potential. He is a bit older for a rookie (24 years old), but he has consistently improved every year and was still growing as a player late into last season. If he was added to the Lions roster, he would improve the line versus the pass and run, help others around him have easier assignments (especially the other two players selected in this year’s draft), and would give the Lions stability on the interior defensive line, even if they move on from veterans in the coming years.
Now it’s your turn. Vote for a grade and sound off in the comments.
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