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.

2022 Senior Bowl mid-season All Riser Team

The Senior Bowl just released it’s 2022 mid-season All Riser team. Hussam Patel takes a look at the offensive side of the ball.

The Senior Bowl just released it’s 2022 mid-season All Riser team. It consists of offensive and defensive players that have risen two rounds or more on the Senior Bowl board from their Junior year tape grades.

Let’s take a look at the offensive prospects.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker

The Tennessee quarterback is kind of like a mix between Bryce Young and CJ Stroud physically. He has Stroud’s arm and size and Young’s athleticism and accuracy. He may win the Heisman. The only major flaw about Hendon Hooker is his age. It brings with it questions of how much upside is left?

Running back Chase Brown

The Illini product has the ability to see where holes are going to open up. Brown can twist his hips in between the blockers to squeeze through holes that aren’t there to the naked eye.

He’s capable as a receiver, a weapon on swing passes and in the screen game. His stats through seven games:

  • ATT: 192
  • YDS: 1,059
  • TD: 4
  • AVG: 5.5

All-riser Pass Catchers

Tight End Luke Schoonmaker

Senior Luke Schoonmaker has picked up where Michgan TE Erick All left off last year, becoming a key part of the Wolverines’ passing attack and a favorite target of J.J. McCarthy.

Through six games, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is second on the team in catches (23) and receiving yards (229). Schoonmaker has reliable hands and shows the willingness to make catches in traffic over the middle.

Wide Receiver Zay Flowers

Xavien “Zay” Kevonn Flowers has caught my eye for a while now, and he’s been on the Senior Bowl radar for quite some time. The Eagles product is first or tied for first in the ACC in:

  • Targets (63)
  • Receptions (42)
  • Receiving yards (556)
  • Receiving TDs (5)
  • 40+ yard catches (4)

His stock hasn’t only risen in the Senior Bowl board, but also among NFL draft boards.

“He’s a smaller receiver, like a [Terry] McLaurin, that type of guy. He can fly. He’s a highlight reel. Probably a second-rounder, might sneak in first if he runs real fast [at the combine].”

NFC Scouting Director

Wide Receiver Charlie Jones

Purdue receiver Charlie Jones is coming of age, especially on the mid-season All Riser team for the Senior Bowl. Although Jones is more of a possession target than a field stretcher, his fiercely competitive demeanor and run-after-catch ability make him a major threat in the middle of the field.

His play this season is even more impressive when you consider he had 39 career receptions coming into the year. Jones has become the most reliable target for Aidan O’Connell and consistently comes away with the difficult catch during the game’s critical moments. He has 62 catches for 735 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Wide Receiver Jonathan Mingo

Ole Miss Rebels receiver Jonathan Mingo was graded by Pro Football Focus as the No. 1 wideout in college football. Mingo plays with a smoothness and balance, and shows a knack for setting up defensive backs. He’s equally dangerous in catch-and-run situations as he is taking the top off a defense.

Mingo transitions quickly from receiver to runner, and he has enough speed to threaten the seam and has a knack for getting open. Through six games, Mingo has amassed 22 receptions, 507 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. He is also now averaging 23.0 yards per reception, which is good for first in the SEC and second in the nation.

All-riser Offensive Lineman

Offensive Tackle Tyler Steen

The development of Alabama offensive tackle Tyler Steen, a veteran transfer from Vanderbilt, has been critical for the Crimson Tide.

Through six weeks, he has been an anchor for the Crimson Tide at left tackle. He is a very instinctive player and leads by example along the offensive front. It will be interesting to see how he develops as the season progresses.

Offensive Guard O’Cyrus Torrence

Proving himself as Florida’s most impactful addition from the transfer portal this past offseason, Right guard O’Cyrus Torrence was recognized for his play twice through six games with the Gators as he lands on Associated Press mid-season All-American team and 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl Mid-season All-Riser Team.

Torrence does a nice job working with teammates to build the pocket, anchoring against bull rushers and displaying good awareness against stunts and twists. As a result, he’s continued his college career-long streak of games without giving up a sack, up to 42 games between his three years at Louisiana and six appearances at Florida.

Center Alex Forsyth

The Oregon product is little known outside of the college football community but has slowly risen up the ranks. Forsyth is currently on the mid-season watch list for the Lombardi Award. In the run game, he shows good burst off the line of scrimmage, with the ability to win at the point of attack.

Forsyth has enough speed and athleticism to move to the second level and land blocks. He’s a rock in the middle of the line as a pass protector, with the heavy hands and strong grip to hold his own against bigger defensive tackles.

Offensive Guard Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones’ name has not been a hot name recently as Ohio State’s high powered offense has names like C.J. Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Paris Johnson. However, Matthew Jones is a key contributor to keeping C.J. Stroud upright and to the Buckeyes having one of the best run games in the nation.

Jones consistently lands blocks at the second level and finishes strong. As a pass protector, he has violent, heavy hands. Along with a strong initial punch, he has the hand strength to grip and redirect pass rushers.

Offensive Tackle Darnell Wright

Last week Volunteers offensive lineman Darnell Wright stood out against Alabama. He had the task playing against an impressive EDGE rusher in Will Anderson Jr.

He has the feet to adjust when he anticipates what’s coming. Effective trapping and bends at the knees with adequate core strength to absorb the bull rush. Can clear a path at the second level if he hits the target. With a thick build and a naturally wide base, he brings power and physicality in the run game.

Wright’s pass protection has been key to keeping Hendon Hooker upright, and a big contributor for an explosive Volunteers offense.

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