The quarterbacks and the skill position players get all the glory, but who do you think enables them to succeed? Without a good offensive line, an offense’s talent almost becomes moot. Plenty of teams have cause to upgrade on the interior this year, but how much interest should Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis attract in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Wyatt Davis 2021 NFL Draft Profile
Weight: 315 pounds
Position: Offensive Guard
School: Ohio State
Current Year: Redshirt Junior
When you’re a 6-foot-3, 319-pound high school lineman, you’re probably going to stand out. Such was the case for Wyatt Davis, who was considerably larger and stronger than his opponents when playing at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California. With his size, Davis was clearly meant to play offensive line. By his senior season, college teams approached him with the same conclusion.
On the recruiting trail, the four-star Davis had scholarship offers from two dozen teams. Those teams included LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Auburn, and Notre Dame. In the outpouring of national acclaim, Davis knew he’d be traveling far from home. In the end, he chose the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team with a long history of NFL talent production.
Wyatt Davis’ career as an Ohio State guard
Despite his high billing as a prospect, Davis redshirted his first year with the Buckeyes. The Ohio State guard came back in 2018 as a redshirt freshman.
In that year, behind starting guards Jonah Jackson and Michal Jordan, Davis served as a rotational lineman and special teams blocker. In that role, he logged almost 350 total snaps. It wasn’t much, but it helped provide a foundation for a stellar two-year starting career.
Davis’ ascension to the starting lineup
In 2019, Michael Jordan left for the draft, and Davis took his place alongside Jackson. The resulting guard tandem helped pave the way for a historic offensive season in Columbus.
In a playoff-worthy season, the Buckeyes put up 87 total touchdowns and over 3,500 total yards on the ground. Additionally, 2019 NFL Draft pick J.K. Dobbins broke the 2,000-yard mark. While the Ohio State offense was laden with talent, their stellar guard play helped that talent thrive.
For his 2019 season, Davis garnered recognition as a first-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten selection. In 2020, Jackson left, drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions, and Davis returned as the most illustrious interior blocker on the team.
The initial doubt surrounding the Big Ten season caused Davis to opt out at first. However, he soon opted back in when the conference renewed its confidence in a fall season. Davis was stable and steady even amidst the unusual circumstances. He provided the same road-grading impact from years past and again earned first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Additionally, Davis received praise as a unanimous All-American, a rare honor bestowed to only college football players of a certain excellence. He will likely officially declare for the 2021 NFL Draft once again, but for now, Ohio State’s campaign is not done. They play the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship. Davis won’t be a statistical leader in that game, but he’ll fulfill a purpose just as crucial.
Wyatt Davis’ performance in the National Championship
The battle between Wyatt Davis and Christian Barmore was a fun one. Unfortunately, it lasted less than two quarters, as Davis left with a leg injury before the end of the first half. But the two gave each other a challenge on the reps they opposed one another. Barmore’s length and power clearly provided a challenge to Davis, and drove him back on a few reps. But Davis responded fairly well and kept Fields clean for the most part.
Davis also proved to be solid in the running game, particularly on Master Teague’s game-tying touchdown early in the second quarter. Davis showed good mobility traveling to the second level, and blocked two players on his way, clearing a lane for Teague to follow. Ohio State’s offensive line had less consistency in the second half, and Davis’ absence likely had something to do with that.
Analyzing Wyatt Davis’ 2021 NFL Draft profile
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.
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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’ best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
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.
Depending on how teams view Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, Davis could have competition at the top guard spot. Nevertheless, as a pure guard, Davis is safely at the top of his position, and he’ll likely be selected within the bounds of Round 1. There’s always a chance a player at a position like guard slips, but Davis’ skill set can clearly provide value to teams early. The Ohio State guard possesses all the necessary tools to come in and flourish on day one.
Which teams are the best fits for Davis?
As mentioned above, Davis is a fairly versatile guard prospect who should be able to flourish regardless of scheme.
That said, his proficiency at sliding along the line as a zone blocker, as well as reaching the second level and seeking out work, makes him especially promising in zone blocking concepts. Thus, the Chiefs, 49ers, Seahawks, and Vikings all have reason to consider selecting the Ohio State guard.
The offensive line is perpetually underrated in its importance for offensive success. Teams with stellar offensive lines can, more often than not, withstand modest deficiencies in their talent core. Additionally, they can also build off of that line, once they have it in place. Davis gives NFL teams a chance to fill a dire functional need early, with little cause for concern.