Explosive Devonte Wyatt feels right at home with Packers

Call from Kenny Clark meant everything to Georgia defensive lineman

Georgia DL Devonte Wyatt

GREEN BAY – Devonte Wyatt had been a Packer for a matter of minutes when his phone lit up with a call from a defensive lineman he grew up idolizing.

Moments after the Packers drafted Wyatt with the second of their two first-round picks (No. 28 overall) on Thursday evening, two-time Pro Bowler Kenny Clark already was reaching out to welcome his newest teammate to Green Bay.

"I was so happy to hear his voice … because I grew up watching Kenny," Wyatt said. "He was like my No. 1, top two defensive tackle. Just getting that call from him, I was just happy. I felt welcome already. It's just an amazing feeling to have that type of caliber of player to call you."

Prior to Thursday night, Clark had been the most recent first-round pick on the Packers' defensive line. In the 6-foot-3, 304-pound Wyatt, Green Bay adds an explosive and agile interior lineman to its already deep and versatile defensive front.

Wyatt brings strong credentials to Green Bay, having played on a dominant University of Georgia defense that buoyed the Bulldogs during their national championship run and produced five first-round picks on Thursday night.

The first two selections were Wyatt's fellow Bulldogs defensive linemen, Trayvon Walker (the No. 1 pick) and Jordan Davis (No. 13). The third just so happened to be linebacker Quay Walker, whom Green Bay selected with its initial first-round pick at 22.

In fact, Walker was in midst of speaking with Green Bay reporters when commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Packers had just drafted Wyatt. According to Wyatt, Walker called him immediately after his conference call ended to offer his congratulations.

"Once he seen me get picked, he was like the first person to call me," Wyatt said. "We're just so excited. We're just ready to go to Green Bay and help the team; just learn the books and become a great player for the Packers."

Wyatt might have been the third Bulldogs defensive lineman to be drafted Thursday, but his talent and upside are undeniable. At this year's NFL Scouting Combine, Wyatt ran a blazing 4.77-second time in the 40-yard dash, the fastest among 300-pound players.

He parlayed that explosiveness into 27 quarterback pressures in 14 games to earn second-team All-America honors from the Associated Press. After spending a year at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, Wyatt racked up 113 tackles and five sacks in 49 games (24 starts) over four seasons with the Bulldogs.

The Packers used one of their top-30 visits to bring in Wyatt prior to the draft. General Manager Brian Gutekunst said the organization performed their due diligence on Wyatt and felt comfortable with the 24-year-old, as both a player and a person.

After the team drafted Walker at No. 22, however, Gutekunst said he didn't expect Wyatt to be available when the Packers went back on the board six spots later.

When Wyatt was still there, the Packers jumped at the chance to deepen an experienced defensive line that includes Clark, Dean Lowry, Jarran Reed and 2021 fifth-round pick T.J. Slaton.

"I think he's such a disruptor on the line of scrimmage," said Gutekunst of Wyatt. "He can play the 1(-technique defensive tackle), he can play the 3, he's a dynamic pass rusher. His ability to scrape and get to the ball in the run game is almost linebacker-like."

The selection of Walker and Wyatt comes after the Packers used their No. 1 pick last year on former Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes, who led Green Bay's secondary with 14 passes defensed as a rookie in 2021.

According to Elias, the Packers are the first NFL team in the common draft era (since 1967) to use three consecutive first-round selections on players from the same college (spanning drafts).

Considering how dominant Georgia's defenses have been in recent years, Wyatt believes the lineage bodes well for Green Bay's future. He can't wait to get started.

"It's amazing, man. It's a blessing," Wyatt said. "Getting drafted with a teammate and already having a teammate that's already down there, I'm very happy, I'm very confident. I'm ready to go ball."

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