#4 2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Wyatt Davis (Ohio State)
6’ 4”, 310 pounds; RS JR
The grandson of Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Davis, Wyatt was the number one guard recruit in the nation back in 2018.
He redshirted his first year in Columbus and then had to wait his turn because of the depth on that Ohio State offensive line, before jumping in the final two games of his freshman season – the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl.
In the last two seasons, he has been a tone-setter up-front for the Buckeyes, earning first-team all-conference accolades in each of them, to go along with being named a consensus and unanimous All-American respectively.
Davis presents a beautiful build for a guard, with a wide chest, thick thighs and little excess weight. This guy is a bully in the run game, who shouts those hips through contact and just buries defenders underneath himself on several occasions.
At Ohio State, they were primarily running variations of zone, where his movement on combo-blocks opened up a lot of room for their backs, washing down the front-side routinely. He really gets into the frame of down-linemen, delivering some thump at first contact and forklifting them, as his hands land low to raise their pads, and he keeps his legs churning.
A lot of times, center Josh Myers actually was almost forced to engage with the backside D-tackle, because his right guard created so much lateral movement right away, to get them in front of the next man.
Davis has the strength to drive the defensive lineman with the inside hand vertically, but still aim at the linebacker, at times neutralizing both. Yet, he can also quickly come off combos. On more wide zone blocking, he can reach-block one-techniques, but if they manage to slip through so he can’t quite scoop them up,
Wyatt Davis can get underneath them and take them for a ride or find a way to pull down the defender and land on top of them. When you watch Trey Sermon down the stretch (especially against Northwestern), a lot of his big runs came on those massive cutbacks behind Davis on the right side, where the RB could just go North all the way after pressing a little bit.
Davis has an almost unbreakable anchor in pass-pro and can take a lot of steam off those defensive tackles with short-sets. When rushers do get that initial momentum vertically every once in a while, you see his cleats eat a lot of grass, to bend through and slow down powerful interior rushers, rarely forcing quarterback Justin Fields to drift backwards or move off the spot.
Especially in 2019, sometimes I felt like I saw guys flat-out give up against him on tape, because his clamps don’t didn't the defender’s chest. Even if one of his feet is caught in the air and he isn’t in the most favorable position, Davis has that body-balance to recover and get back into a solid base.
He also shows really good awareness for interior twists, by the way his man slants across his face, where he “hands” them off to his center with a solid push, or on E-T crosses, when he sees his man loop outside and how quickly his eyes transition to the end crashing through the B-gap.
Davis didn’t allow any sacks in 2019 and while that went to three given up this past season, he was still only responsible 11 total pressures on 280 pass-blocking snaps, whilst a lot of those came on more exotic blitzes, rather than him getting beat one-on-one.
However, Davis doesn’t show the elite lateral agility and recovery skills when his man gets to one shoulder. He tends to be flat-footed and overextend his arms when initiating contact in pass-pro, to where those quick, well-schooled interior rushers could get him some trouble, when they can get those instant wins by beating the first punch.
Obviously I can’t tell for sure because I don’t know all their rules in protection, but judging by the reactions and what I have seen in other games, Davis seemed to have several mental lapses in that regard in the Indiana game and there was a ton of pressure coming on Justin Fields coming over from that side.
He can be a little late to recognize blitzers coming down late in general and was involved in a larger amount of miscommunications this past season. Davis’ lacking agility also shows up when trying to work across the face of defenders lined up in the play-side gap of wide zone runs, where his feet get parallel.
He allowed D-tackles to show in the B-gap, rather than keeping his frame in front of them and their shoulders even with the line of scrimmage. Overall he just allows a little too much penetration on zone runs and he whiffs or loses his balance on a few second-level blocks, because he doesn’t gather himself enough.
Of course, the scheme versatility wasn’t really there at Ohio State, since they almost purely ran zone-read and split zone I felt like down the stretch, but with his power at first contact and the how he can move people in the run game, I think Davis will be fine in any run scheme, even though he will have to work on his technique on reach-blocks.
He injured his knee just before halftime of the National Championship game and while both didn’t end up being serious, he had to be helped off the field already twice before that during the season already. So with his tape last season not being quite on the same level as it was in 2019, I had to drop Davis a few spots, but he is still close to a top-tier guard prospect.