GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — Devonte Wyatt is drawing the line with roommates. He doesn’t share a spot with fellow Green Bay Packers’ rookie Quay Walker.
“We’re not staying together,” Wyatt said with a smile. “I want my own house. He probably feels the same way.”
That being said, it sounds like they couldn’t be happier that their journey to the NFL is bringing them back together.
After all, they’ve shared just about everything else — from their success at the University of Georgia to their unlikely arrival in the same NFL city in the same round of the same draft.
So forgive them if they took a moment to reflect during last weekend’s rookie minicamp. On their first day at Lambeau Field, they sat in the team cafeteria with sophomore cornerback Eric Stokes — another former Georgia Bulldog who was the Packers’ first pick for 2021.
“We were just talking, man,” Wyatt said, “talking about how amazing it is that we’re all on the same team, how we’re all at the next level [and] how far we’ve come.”
The Packers picked Walker, the versatile inside linebacker, 22nd overall. Six picks later, they nabbed Wyatt, the quick-footed defensive tackle who caused quite a stir with his 40-yard dash down the combine.
Not that the transition to the NFL will ever be easy, but it might be smoother if they do it together.
“I’m sure the two guys will be comfortable,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. “Anytime you get into a new situation with a bunch of strangers and there’s a familiar face, I think that gives those two guys some comfort. But you know, I think we’ve got a pretty impressive dressing room, a lot of great veterans, and I think they’re going to take all these guys under their wing.”
Walker: From tire to grate
Football wasn’t the first love for the 6-foot-4, 241-pound walker.
All he thought about when he arrived at high school in Crisp County, Georgia was basketball. Until the football coach saw him throw dunks at the gym.
“I wasn’t a football player at all,” Walker recalls. “He came up to me and just said something that stuck with me, ‘You’re 6-3, 6-4 and you play power forward in basketball. That’s the normal size of a Division I point guard.” He said, “6-3, 6-4 is big in soccer, so try soccer.” I listened to him.”
Walker said he tried soccer before in middle school.
“I didn’t like it at all,” he said.
• Bears have “big plans” for Velus Jones Jr.
• Packers’ Walker, Wyatt’s journey to the NFL
• How Jeudy benefits from Russell Wilson
• NYG secondary: huge hole without Bradberry
• Nakobe Dean: New Life of the NCAAF Star
The second time it was different. He found a home at Linebacker and, to hear him, scholarship offers poured in almost immediately.
“Listening to him was the best thing I could ever do,” Walker said.
His instant fame in high school was not repeated when he joined the SEC powerhouse. Three seasons later, he had started two games.
“It humbled me a lot,” he said.
“To be honest, I wanted to go,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t want to go, but I really did. But I just relied on it. Every plan will be different. It’s not going to be easy for everyone, or however you want to put it. So I just put my head down and kept working.”
He credited Georgia coaches, particularly linebacker coach Glenn Schumann, for convincing him to stay.
“They said, ‘Just try to push through and see how it goes,'” Walker said. “I’m glad they did. Because of how things went my senior year when I won the national championship for my home team, [home] State, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
He capped his senior year with eight tackles and six quarterback presses in the championship against Alabama. It jumped him over the draft boards in the first round and straight to the Packers – further than basketball ever took him.
“Not too far,” Walked replied when asked where he would have ended up as a basketball player. “Probably up the road. I would say Albany State, about 15, 20, 25 minutes down the road from me. Probably as far as I would have gone.”
Wyatt: The Road to Elite
The Walker-Wyatt pairing with the Packers might never have happened if Wyatt had entered the NFL draft after the 2020 season.
But Georgia coach Kirby Smart persuaded him to stay another year.
“He just let me,” Wyatt said. “Like he said, no teams see me as an elite defensive tackle. Deep down I knew I was that elite defensive tackle, so that’s why I came back.”
He was arrested in February 2020 on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, trespassing and criminal damage to property – all of which were later dropped.
According to an ESPN incident report from the UGA Police Department, an individual called 911 on Friday, February 21, telling police that a man and woman were arguing outside a dorm.
“During the argument [the woman] left Wyatt’s room at Vandiver Hall and returned to her dormitory at McWhorter Hall,” the incident report said.
A UGA police officer wrote in the report that “neither party has indicated that they fear for their safety”.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the Clarke County Attorney General told the newspaper the case was dismissed after “the evidence was reviewed and the alleged victim was consulted.”
“I’ve definitely had moments in my career [when] It was tough, like with the off-field issues I had,” Walker said. “I definitely made a mistake. I definitely learned from my mistakes.”
On the field, Wyatt rose to as much as 330 pounds as a junior. He said he played 300-305 in 2021, which allowed him to show off his athletic prowess (see his 4.77 40-yard dash at the combine that even beat his Georgia defensemate Jordan Davis, 13th). Pick of the draft, suggested).
His college career began with humble beginnings. He had to go the junior college route at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College before ending up in Athens, Georgia, where he and Walker tied their bond.
“Four years ago we did [were] like: “We want to get into the first round. We want to do this. We want to play together,'” Wyatt said. “Doing this now is just a dream come true.”
That is, as long as they have their separate habitats.