NFL Draft: Packers Aggressively Defend Devonte Wyatt Selection Amid Character Concerns, Past Domestic Violence Charges

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst likely figured he’d need to provide two clarifications after selecting Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt in the 2022 NFL Draft’s first round.

First: Why would the Packers use both defensive selections on defensive players — Green Bay used the 28th overall pick on the 6-foot-3, 304-pound Wyatt and added his Georgia teammate, linebacker Quay Walker, at No. 22 — when the offense desperately needed a young, explosive receiver?

The other, and perhaps more important, question: Why did the Packers invest a first-round pick on a player with character concerns and past domestic violence charges?

Although some analysts praised the Packers’ decision to draft Wyatt, others cited a 2020 arrest for three misdemeanor charges — family violence, criminal trespass, and damage to property. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Zachary Hansen, all charges were dropped in June 2020 after prosecutors reviewed the evidence and consulted with the alleged victim. Police arrested Wyatt four months earlier after he allegedly kicked down the door of a woman he lived on and off with at the time.

Neither the University of Georgia nor Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart punished Wyatt, who spent the last two years in Athens.

According to SB Nation’s Justis Mosqueda, Gutekunst told reporters the team did a “deep dive” to ensure they were comfortable in selecting Wyatt.

“In the incidents that he had, he never put his hand on anybody. He never hurt anybody. It was just two or three incidents as a young person he stubbed his toe. We don’t have a lot of tolerance for that, but we wouldn’t have brought here if we didn’t feel good about the person.”

Brian Gutekunst’s Charlie Campbell reported in March at least one team had already dropped Wyatt from its draft board over character concerns. The 24-year-old remained a consensus first-round prospect in recent weeks.

In the two years since his February 2020 arrest, Wyatt has not had subsequent legal issues.

The Green Bay Packers selected Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Green Bay Packers felt comfortable selecting Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt in the 2022 NFL Draft | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Walker, who totaled seven tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 14 starts last year, will be asked to play a pivotal role on the Packers’ defensive line. His age and SEC experience will only increase the pressure placed on him to provide an impact as soon as he takes the field.

Barring any trades, Green Bay will pick 53rd, 59th, and 92nd on Friday night. With the defense addressed, the Packers can now turn their attention to the receivers. Although North Dakota State’s Christian Watson and Georgia’s George Pickens will likely be off the board by No. 53, the Packers could still have a chance at Alabama’s John Metchie III or Purdue’s David Bell.

For more on this year’s draft, check out our comprehensive page here.

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