3. Devonte Wyatt
DJ Reader will return as the team’s starting nose tackle next season but it’s possible that his running mate on the interior, Larry Ogunjobi, will head for greener pastures on the open market. That possibility raises the idea that drafting Wyatt in Round 1 could be a prudent move by the Bengals front office.
Wyatt was highly productive during his collegiate career at Georgia because of his exceptional quickness. He uses exceptional lateral agility to knife past opposing centers and guards to make plays in the backfield. That doesn’t mean he’ll turn into a big-time sack artist at the next level, but he does profile as an above-average run defender right away.
The downside to Wyatt as an interior defensive line prospect is that he doesn’t possess anything more than average functional strength. That might improve marginally with pro coaching but he’s never going to be dominant if he allows opposing lineman to get their hands on him in tight spaces.
Nonetheless, Wyatt has the right combination of talent and scheme fit to pay off handsomely for Cincinnati at No. 31. If all the Round 1 tackles are off the board no one should be shocked to see the Bengals go for an immediate starter at defensive tackle.