2023 NFL Draft: Darnell Wright Scouting Report

Mammoth Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright is poised to be a great value pick in the 2023 NFL draft

Offensive tackle is one of the most important positions in football and we see so many of them get drafted high come April. In this upcoming class, countless talented tackles have been mocked in the top 50. One of those is Darnell Wright, an absolute mammoth of a man controlling the right side for the Tennessee Volunteers. Wright stands at 6’6”, 335 pounds and is a force with his raw strength.

A former five star recruit, Wright has the pedigree of a top tier player. He’s currently projected to land somewhere in the late first-to-mid second round this spring. Let’s dive into the scouting report on Darnell Wright!

Darnell Wright Scouting Report

Darnell Wright Scouting Report
Photo Credit: Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Strengths on tape

Games Watched: Pitt (2022), Florida (2022), LSU (2022), Alabama (2022)

The first thing that immediately stands out about Wright is his otherworldly raw strength, particularly in his hands. It truthfully does not matter who’s in front of him. If he gets his hands on you, it’s over. With absolute vice grips attached to his wrists, Wright can shut down an array of moves from opposing edge rushers.

This was extremely evident in the Pittsburgh game. The same skip move (the James Houston move) was tried on him three separate times (it failed all three times). Seemingly every move was thrown at Wright this season and he never flinched. 

His patience and polish in pass protection is what really stands out. Not even a pro yet, Wright has nearly perfected the snatch-and-trap move. This move appears on his film multiple times each game. So many times he just shuts down whatever gets thrown at him, and it looks to be effortless as well. He has perfected the ability to win each rep with his hands.

Wright’s strength and power have emerged as his trump cards for anything thrown his way. Whether he’s de-cleating someone mid-spin move or just refusing to let Will Anderson disengage, Wright was an impenetrable force in pass protection.  

Concerns 

Look, he’s big and slow. If you can’t get past that, then he is not a player who should be on your board. Despite all his size and power, Wright really struggles to get on the move. There are some positive reps as a puller, but that is also inconsistent because of his limited range. Teams who ask their linemen to get out on the move should not be looking towards Wright.

Another concern is inconsistent hand placement. There are a handful of reps where he allows his hands to drift high and get up around the facemask of who he’s blocking. That getting cleaned up would make him even more reliable in pass protection. 

Team fits 

Whether it’s the late first or the mid second, there are a good amount of teams who should be heavily considering Darnell Wright. One of those is the Dallas Cowboys. With Tyron Smith’s availability issues, Dallas could consider moving on and plugging in Wright on the right side to pair with future Hall of Famer Zack Martin.

Another team who may consider Wright is the Arizona Cardinals. With a new head coach coming in, it is imperative to do everything they can to ensure that Kyler Murray is a $200 million quarterback whenever he returns. The best way to do that is to protect him.

Why Liam Eichenberg Shouldn’t Start After Stint on IR

The Miami Dolphins have announced that offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg has been activated from the injured reserve. Eichenberg, a former second round pick out of Notre Dame, began the season starting at left guard. On November 1st, the Dolphins placed Eichengerg on injured reserve after he was carted off the field.

In his place, Robert Jones has stepped in amicably. Jones, undrafted out of Middle Tennessee State in 2021, has been better than anticipated, but still not great. However, this return to the active roster for Eichenberg should end there. Jones has been just as good — if not better — than Eichenberg was. The results on the field show in both the numbers and the tape. 

Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg
Photo Credit: Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

Why Keep Liam Eichenberg out of the Starting Lineup 

Discipline 

One of the biggest reasons Robert Jones has been an improvement over Liam Eichenberg has been the reduction in penalties. Both players have started about 7.5 games along the Dolphins offensive line, but Eichenberg has considerably more penalties. Eichenberg has totaled five penalties this season, with three of them being holding. A holding penalty can absolutely kill a drive and put your offense behind schedule. Jones has just two penalties, with both coming as five yard false starts. 

Run game revelation

The Dolphins’ run game was lost early in the season. However, they have managed to find some rhythm late this year. The biggest surge came in Jones’ second start against the Cleveland Browns, where Miami rushed for nearly 200 yards on the ground. Strong surges against Buffalo and Green Bay kept Miami in those games when the passing game was sputtering. The Dolphins spent far too much time early in the season averaging less than four yards per carry on the ground. 

The Outlook Going Forward

Robert Jones should certainly finish out the season at left guard, regardless of whether or not Liam Eichenberg is healthy. The results clearly show that Jones has been more effective, and January is not the time to be shaking up an offensive line that is playing relatively well. Going forward, however, could be a different story.

Both Eichenberg and Jones can be categorized as ‘replacement level’ players. They are not complete disasters like the days of Sam Young and John Jerry, but neither have produced results encouraging enough that Miami should be completely ignoring the position going forward. They can both be on the roster when training camp starts, but some type of stop-gap veteran should be signed in the process.

The Dolphins have a drastically improved offensive line from their 2021 disaster, but this unit is by no means a finished product. The line seemed to self-destruct any time that perennial pro-bowler Terron Armstead was out of the game. Better players at both left guard and right tackle should curb that trend. 

Bijan Robinson: The unquestioned RB1 for the 2023 NFL Draft?

Is Bijan Robinson RB1 for the 2023 NFL draft?
Photo Credit: Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bijan Robinson was an absolute legend at Texas. Robinson capped off his brilliant collegiate career with a stellar 2022 season; landing him ninth in Heisman Trophy voting and winning the prestigious Doak Walker award. Now, with Bijan Robinson likely turning his eye to the 2023 NFL draft, his name seems to be the only one that comes up when discussing who will be the top running back off the board. 

The value of the running back position has dropped precipitously in recent years, with many teams electing to ignore the position in the first round completely. In 2022, only three running backs were taken in the first two rounds, with none coming off the board until Breece Hall at pick 36 to the New York Jets. 

Robinson has been mocked anywhere from the top ten picks to the late second round. But, in every mock draft, one thing always remains the same: He’s the first running back selected. Every time. Is Bijan Robinson the clear best player at his position for the 2023 NFL draft? Does anyone even come close?

Tale of the tape

Photo Credit: Texas Athletics

Games watched: Alabama (2022), Iowa State (2022), Kansas State (2022)

The first thing that immediately jumps off the screen with Bijan Robinson is his size. He’s listed at 6-0, 222 pounds on the Texas official roster (the real numbers will be revealed at the combine). When bent in his stance, Robinson looks more like a linebacker than a running back. The size of his legs alone serve as a sign to defenses that it’s going to be a long day. 

Robinson is so remarkably hard to tackle. He easily sheds would-be tacklers time and time again. Whether it’s a stiff-arm or just simply bouncing off of them, Robinson rarely goes down on first contact and typically requires multiple tacklers. He also couples these extra yards with elite vision. If a hole appears, the chances are rather high that you might find number five in burnt orange bursting through it. Robinson keeps the Longhorns on schedule repeatedly with his meat-and-potatoes running style. 

While he doesn’t possess elite long speed, Robinson does have the requisite quickness and fluidity to find the hole and also hit those cuts to the outside. He has countless reps where he hits the edge and picks up some yards. His strength and contact balance make him a nightmare for defensive backs to come up and tackle.

While being one of the best runners in the country, Robinson had a surprisingly impactful role in the passing attack. He’s not a crisp route runner like Christian McCaffrey, but he is a diabolical weapon in the screen game with his ability to get downhill, follow his blockers, and shrug off tacklers. He can also catch the ball and turn up-field quickly.

Where he stands to improve in the pass game is in pass protection. He lacks instincts there and could use some work. However, there are some encouraging reps, including one against Alabama where he delivers a powerful blow to Will Anderson. 

Biggest Competitor to Bijan Robinson for NFL Draft RB1

The 2022 running back class looks like a deep one, but there seems to be a drop off after the first two names. That other name is Jahmyr Gibbs, originally a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket who transferred to Alabama prior to the 2022 season. Gibbs is a player who has the potential to be an elite weapon in the passing game.  

Gibbs excels at those angle/Texas routes out of the backfield, and also spent a good portion of his time lined up out wide and working the middle of the field. He has also shown some nice reps in pass protection. While not perfect in that area, he is good enough to make him one of the better third down backs in the 2023 NFL draft class. 

As a runner, Gibbs is incredibly dynamic. He has good vision and does a nice job following his blockers to find the green grass. His explosiveness and speed make him a threat to score on every play. Speedy guys typically don’t fight for extra yards, but Gibbs showed many times that he never quits on a play and can lower his pads to power through for extra yards. 

What’s the verdict?

Almost everyone you ask will have Bijan Robinson as the top running back in the 2023 NFL draft class. There is certainly good reason to do so. Robinson may have the highest ceiling in this class. He should without a doubt be the first running back taken. How high should that be? 

Many draft websites have him as a top five player in the class. That means he almost certainly gets taken in round one. Whether or not that is wise to do so is up in the air. Najee Harris and Travis Etienne went in the first in 2021, and Robinson looks like an unquestionably better player than both. Could he go in the top 20, which no running back has done since Saquan Barkley in 2018? We shall see.

Bye Week Rooting Guide for Miami Dolphins Fans

Photo Credit: Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have finally hit a much needed bye week. When Miami returns to action next week, they will face the Houston Texans and then hit the most challenging portion of their schedule. But before we get there here’s a convenient rooting guide for Miami Dolphins fans for the bye week action.

Sitting at 7-3, the Dolphins find themselves atop the AFC East with seven games left. However, the weather is starting to change, spelling danger for this warm weather team, led by a warm weather quarterback. With the week off, Dolphin fans can turn their attention towards rooting against Miami’s interconference foes.

Miami Dolphins Rooting Guide

Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns

The Miami Dolphins rooting guide starts with a game that’s a bit… murky in terms of rooting interests. Your rooting interest in this game varies on your expectations for Miami. Do you think Miami can survive this tough upcoming stretch and stay above Buffalo in the division? If that’s the case, then it’s Cleveland all day.

A loss would put Buffalo at 6-4, giving Miami a better record, tie-breaker, a better division record, a better conference record, and the edge in common opponent games because of last week’s win against this same Browns team. 

However, let’s play the numbers game here. After the Texans, the Dolphins will face a six-game stretch that features the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and New York Jets. Only one of those teams presently sits below .500 — and that team has Aaron Rodgers.

What is the likelihood of Miami coming out of that stretch 5-1 or 4-2? The Dolphins may very well be competing for the Wild Card. If that is the case, Cleveland falling to 3-7 and losing the tiebreaker would make it nearly impossible for Cleveland to catch Miami. One less team to worry about come January is never a bad thing. 

Philadelphia Eagles vs Indianapolis Colts

This one is pretty simple: Root for the Eagles. With Philadelphia finally dropping a game on Monday, they serve no interest to the Miami Dolphins anymore. The Indianapolis Colts on the other hand, still find themselves in the thick of the wild card race.

Any NFC team beating an AFC opponent is a win for Miami. The Dolphins don’t face the Colts this season and play in a much stronger division. That gives the Colts an opportunity to gain the tie-breaker. Ensuring Miami has a better overall record is imperative. 

New York Jets vs New England Patriots 

All signs here point to a Patriots win being the most beneficial for the Dolphins. Miami has already beaten the Patriots and New England has a worse record. A Jets loss would put both New England and New York at four losses, which is helpful for the Dolphins, who will not be able to claim head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets this season. 

Baltimore Ravens vs Carolina Panthers

Another NFC vs AFC matchup here leads to an easy rooting interest for the Dolphins. The Baltimore Ravens saw a 21-point lead evaporate to Tua and company in September, giving Miami a tiebreaker advantage over the Ravens. The Ravens are another team in the thick of the AFC, and losing to an out-of-conference opponent only gives the Dolphins a bigger advantage 

Las Vegas Raiders vs Denver Broncos

This game has little to no meaning for Miami, but there is still a slight rooting interest. A Raiders victory would put both clubs at 3-7, which would make it extremely hard for them to catch the Dolphins. However, a 4-6 Broncos team would still have a puncher’s chance. Miami fans should be rooting for the Raiders in this one.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers

While it seems obvious on the surface, figuring out who to root for is quite tricky in this game. On one hand, the Bengals are a team who could be competing with Miami for positioning — whether it’s as a division winner or a Wild Card team. 

On the other hand, would it be more beneficial for Miami to have the Bengals win the North so the Dolphins are competing with the Ravens for the Wild Card, whom they already have a win against? That all depends on what you think the Dolphins’ chances of winning the AFC East are. If you think the Dolphins will come out of this tough stretch and relinquish first place, you should be rooting for the Bengals to win the AFC North.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Chargers 

Our final game is another that differs based on where you think Miami finishes in the division. An AFC East champion Miami Dolphins team would absolutely love for the Chiefs to drop this game, as the two teams battle for the number one spot in the conference and the illustrious first round bye. 

However, a Wild Card Miami Dolphins team will be rooting like hell for the Chiefs this weekend. The Chargers are a team who finds themselves right in the thick of the Wild Card race. The Dolphins have an opportunity to gain a head-to-head advantage over them in December, and the Chiefs adding a loss to Los Angeles’ schedule would be even more beneficial. 

Over/Under: Best prop bets for Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens

The Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens are running back their matchup from last season. Here is a betters guide brought to you by Prizepicks

Mandatory Credit: Baltimore Ravens

The Miami Dolphins are traveling up north to face the Baltimore Ravens. While most of us will be tuned in to see the result of the game, there are other reasons to turn this game on: fantasy games, betting, and prop bets.

The reality of the situation is that gambling and fantasy football are very much part of the game. There will be countless fans watching this game with a vested interest from their pockets. Who’s going over? Who’s going under? These are the important questions to ask in 2022.

Sports betting is surging in the United States and there is nowhere it has more power than in the NFL. Many people will be placing bets this weekend. Here are some of the most fascinating player prop bets for Dolphins vs Ravens. All odds are presented by PrizePicks

Dolphins vs Ravens Best Prop Bets

Tua Tagovailoa Passing yards: Over 230.5 

Tua Tagovailoa went for 270 yards in his first game under new head coach Mike McDaniel. However, there was quite a bit of meat left on the bone. Tagovailoa typically has fewer passing yards against the Patriots, leaving some optimism for his statistical output.

The Ravens will also put up considerably more points than New England, and Miami will likely have to push the ball downfield more than they did on Sunday. Even if you take away the yards after the catch on Jaylen Waddle’s touchdown, Tagovailoa was right at 230 yards. 

Tyreek Hill receiving yards: Over 70.5 

Tyreek Hill was all over the field in his Miami Dolphins debut. While Hill and Tagovailoa were unable to connect on any big splash plays downfield, he still ended the day with 94 yards. Based on what this offense looked like in the preseason and in Week 1, it is reasonable to presume that Hill will have the opportunity to hit his over every week.

The volume will always be there, and his after-the-catch ability lends itself to stockpiling yards in chunks — even if there is a game where he doesn’t hit a home run. Tyreek Hill amassing at least 71 yards on Sunday is one of the safer bets of the weekend. 

Lamar Jackson rush attempts: Over 7.5

The Ravens were severely frustrated by Miami’s defense in their matchup last season. It has become a point of conversation this week, with both sides bringing it up. In last year’s game, Jackson rushed nine times.

That number may have been higher with more designed runs if the Ravens had not been trailing for the entire second half. The weakness of Miami’s defense is their linebackers, and it would behoove Baltimore to attack them with designed Jackson runs.