clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Breaking Down G Wyatt Davis

Indiana v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Vikings drafted G Wyatt Davis with the 86th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Vikings acquired this pick the night before, in a trade down with the Jets. Davis had a second-round grade on most big boards, so picking him up well into the 3rd round was a good value for the Vikings, especially when they got the pick for trading down and selecting the player they may well have selected had they not done so. Davis was also either the 2nd or 3rd ranked guard on most boards, so the Vikings were also able to pick up a relatively high quality player at the position as well.

Wyatt Davis has NFL bloodlines, as he is the grandson of Willie Davis, the Hall of Fame defensive end for the Green Bay Packers.

Traits

Height: 6’3.5” | Arms: 33.875”

Weight: 315 lbs. | Hands: 9.125”

Bench Press Reps: 25

Davis did not do any of the athletic drills at his pro day, as he was recovering from a knee injury he had been playing through the last part of the season at Ohio State, before he aggravated it just before halftime in the National Championship game. The injury did not require surgery, and he was able to do offensive line drills during his pro day, and should be good to go for the Vikings’ off-season program.

Davis is generally described as a good athlete at the position, and is athletic enough for a zone scheme, and big and powerful enough for a gap scheme. He’s got great arm length for a guard as well (although many scouting reports say he doesn’t- perhaps referring to his height), and has the desired low center of gravity in an interior offensive lineman.

College Grades and Stats

Wyatt Davis got his first snaps at Ohio State in the 2018 post-season, and became a starter the following year as a sophomore. He earned First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten honors as both a sophomore and a junior (Unanimous All-American last year), along with the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the year award before declaring for the draft. He was also named a team captain in 2020.

In 865 pass blocking snaps, he gave up just 4 sacks and 1 QB hit, and a total of 33 pressures in the 50 games (24 starts) he played in during his OSU career.

His performance this past year declined, however, as apparently the OSU line had some communication issues that led to the 3 sacks, but which isn’t likely to be an on-going issue, and he also was dealing with a knee injury during the second half of the season that may have hurt his performance. Those issues may have contributed to his fall in the draft as well.

Pro Football Focus
Pro Football Focus

Scouting Reports

Wyatt Davis projects well as a starting right guard at the NFL level and it should not take him very long to work himself into that role. Davis should be expected to claim a starting role during his rookie season in the NFL—thanks in large part to impressive NFL bloodlines and the mauling presence up front that will help create ample space in the run game. Davis is at his best on inside zone, where his blend of lateral mobility and functional power can combine to push and uproot defenders at the point of attack to create gaping lanes for his ball carriers. Davis is a multi-year starter with the Buckeyes and although his play peaked in 2019, there’s a clear and obvious ceiling with Davis’ game that would make him a game-changing presence up front along an NFL offensive line. Teams who implement more frequent outside zone concepts will need to provide some added focus to securing and sustaining blocks after first contact if they hope to unlock the best of what Davis has to offer, but a large part of his appeal is that he’s got the physical tools to execute any kind of concept at a high level. Teams who love maulers are going to find him hard to ignore.

Competitive Toughness: Davis is a jackhammer up front who will physically impose his will on smaller defenders who charge into his area at the point of attack. Davis generates strong movement on double teams and shows excellent backside effort to work into favorable fits on far-reaching landmarks. Davis’ natural strength and hand power stand out as big-time assets to his game that will bail him out of his fair share of negative reps.

Balance: You wish he played a little bit more under control at times, his lapses in balance and control show up in space when looking to adjust and taper his angles to greet defenders on the move and also on occasion against shaded defensive linemen in hopes of quickly attaching to the body of his man. Weight distribution is effective if he’s secured the hands and able to drive the feet and bring them under his hips on contact. His short-area redirection skills offer him plenty of appeal in short sets and slide protection.

Anchor Ability: For someone as physically powerful and imposing as Davis has shown to be on tape, you’d wish he’s drop anchor a little quicker when he’s forced to adjust late and absorb speed to power. He ultimately has the goods to pull the e-brake and provide his quarterback with room to work, but he’s not an immovable object in pass protection and he’s not immune from catching a set of hands with his chest if he’s caught out in space trying to redirect if left on an island on deeper drops from his quarterback. He’s more stout and impactful on the quick-game and rhythm passing knowing ball will be out quickly.

Lateral Mobility: His wide zone and outside zone abilities are enough to leave you feeling comfortable if that’s where you’re going to make your hay running the football. His appeal here is more so in his punch power in space than it is his ability to be silky in stringing out the LOS. He does lose some of the pop and twitch out of his stance when he’s forced to open his hips and get width but he is still good in this regard.

Power at P.O.A.: There’s an excellent level of pop here and Davis is at his best when he’s stepping into contact by driving north out of his stance—if you encourage him to play forward you’re going to get the best version of him to press defensive tackles via double teams, crash down on shaded interior defenders to create gaping holes, and the needed ability to climb to the B-level of the defense and create wash to pick off defensive flow. Visibly jolts defenders with his punch at first contact, which wins him plenty of reps early on.

Hand Technique: Continuing to add focus on securing and sustaining his hands after the first blow is an important variable for him to attend to. Too many times Davis generates space with a big blow but isn’t able to reset the hook and reattach to the block in order to seal. It has sprung up both on reach blocks and on pulls when trying to kick out gap-shooters or the end man on the line of scrimmage.

Football IQ: Davis’ vision and feel for navigating the defensive front are highly effective in zone concepts to feel when to claim space and when to create wash. Appreciate the sense and feel of securing double teams and passing off with his linemates. Davis does, at times, get by with more physical tools than technical prowess, but that’s bittersweet in that he’s also capable of creating ample improvement in his play with better fundamentals.

Versatility: If you’re looking for a lineman who can fulfill a number of different roles or help craft a blend of the five best linemen getting onto the field, you’ve come to the wrong place—Davis is a right guard and doesn’t appear to have the athleticism or footwork to play on the edge and he doesn’t have the pad level and flexibility to play center. But if you’re comfortable with a plug-and-play guard, Davis can do just about everything you would ask and can play inside zone, outside zone, gap/power, and everything in between. His pass sets are better suited for quick game but he’s got the ceiling to become more consistent if he transitioned to a vertical passing offense in the pros.

Pass Sets: He’s got a very good snap out of his stance and is capable of getting set up on his hips quickly to be ready to strike and play with his feet rooted in the ground. The longer he’s left unattended, the more some of his physical warts become apparent. His ability to flash across large distances with explosiveness can be negated to some degree, but he’ll never be accused of not looking for work if he’s left unattended. His pad level can get the best of him at times and he’ll sparingly let a defensive lineman work under his pads.

Flexibility: There’s plenty of linear coil in his hips to explode on contact and punish defenders at the line of scrimmage. He’s shown viable rotational mobility to flip his hips open and pull with needed precision behind the line of scrimmage. His knee bend only average, however, and as a result, you’ll see some misplayed reps when looking to break down in space or trying to press back with explosiveness across his momentum late in pass sets. - Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network

Positives: Athletic guard with terrific size and upside. Sets with a wide base, bends his knees, and consistently gets leverage on opponents. Fires off the snap, fluidly gets out to the second level, and is outstanding blocking in motion. Easily slides in space displaying good lateral blocking range, stays square, and keeps his feet moving.

Very effective with his hands, properly placing them into defenders and displaying strength in his game. Terrific leader on the offensive line who is intelligent and quickly picks up assignments.

Negatives: Does not display a dominant base despite his size. Must learn to finish blocks. Suffered a significant leg injury during the national championship game in January.

Analysis: Davis was a dominant lineman for Ohio State the past two seasons and showed continued development in his game. He’s a zone-blocking lineman with outstanding size and needs only to improve his finishing strength to complete his game. The injury suffered during the national title game will push him down draft boards, but once he returns to health, Davis will be a productive starting guard in the NFL.

Wyatt Davis is a fun player to watch, in part because he packs so much potential energy into a frame that doesn’t have many dominant measurements.

I’ve used the term “potential energy” a few times in my draft evaluations, so I’ll explain what it means here. For an offensive lineman, it’s actually quite simple. With how much explosiveness can you move? How much power can you exert? There are, of course, leverage aspects that allow linemen to better channel these traits. But having the potential energy in the first place makes that transfer that much easier.

You’ll be pleased to hear that Wyatt Davis has that potential energy. Some teams might like their guards a bit taller, but Davis checks most of the boxes aside from that.

He’s a wide, dense blocker with decent length, and he moves well for his size. He has an explosive first step as a run defender, and he actively turns his hips to assure maximum leverage against defenders trying to pierce the line. He also has a great deal of natural power to shell out on each play.

Davis is fairly loose with both his hips and his upper body, and this shows up in pass protection as well. Davis plays with enough balance to maintain blocks even against long-armed rushers. Additionally, when searching for work, his eyes are active, and he has enough fluidity in short spaces to help other blockers in a timely fashion.

On top of this, Davis has good hands when blocking one-on-one, and his heavy, powerful punches come with good quickness. Furthermore, his intrinsic leverage allows him to play lower than most.

What are the potential holes in Wyatt Davis’ game?

Off the top, there aren’t many flaws with Wyatt Davis. There are areas where he can carry more polish in his game. However, that’s to be expected from most young linemen, and Davis displays a functional understanding of leverage, timing, and hand placement, which helps to give him a high floor in this area.

It is important that we note Davis’ length again. While Davis has decent length, it’s not an elite wingspan. NFL interior defenders tend to be longer. Thus, those who have greater length than Davis may have a better time getting inside his pads and preventing him from exerting his full power. That said, Davis is a fighter. Rarely is he negated by length alone, as he has the recovery athleticism and balance to compensate.

Wyatt Davis has been one of the best blockers in the country for two years, so in the draft, he’ll be a widely established talent. The talented lineman has minimal holes in his game, and his best traits — his smooth mobility, athleticism, power, and leverage — make him a scheme-diverse starter at offensive guard in the NFL. - Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network

College Film

2019 Games

2020 Games

2020 National Championship Game (Davis #52 played only first half)

Highlights

Bottom Line

Davis is likely to be a starter this season for the Vikings at either right or left guard. If I had to guess I’d say right guard (his position in college) and that Ezra Cleveland is moved to left guard. That would make it easier for Davis to get up to speed playing the same position, while it would also leave veterans next to the two rookies, the other being left tackle Christian Darrisaw. Often the more athletic of the two guards takes the left side, and I’d give Cleveland the nod on that score, but Davis’ position may also boil down to some nuances of the Vikings blocking scheme as well.

Davis appears to be about as NFL-ready as you could expect for a college prospect, but he’ll still need to make strides in his body control, and setting a better anchor in pass protection, along with continuing to get stronger- something every college prospect needs to do as the enter the NFL.

Ultimately the goal is for Davis to upgrade the guard position opposite Cleveland, which was the weakest link last season, and help get the Vikings offensive line to at least league average this season.

Poll

How will Wyatt Davis perform his rookie year?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Pro Bowl caliber
    (165 votes)
  • 42%
    Above average guard in the league
    (579 votes)
  • 29%
    League average guard
    (401 votes)
  • 13%
    Good rookie guard
    (181 votes)
  • 1%
    Below average guard
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    He won’t be a starter
    (8 votes)
1352 votes total Vote Now