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2023 NFL Draft: Could Tennessee's Darnell Wright Be the Jaguars' Pick at No. 24?

With Jawaan Taylor's departure, should the Jaguars consider a right tackle like Darnell Wright at No. 24?

The 2023 NFL Draft season is upon us.

Among the 32 teams building their rosters to compete for the next Lombardi Trophy is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold nine picks in this season’s draft -- including the No. 24 overall pick.

As we march closer and closer to April’s draft, we will look at individual draft prospects and how they would potentially fit with the Jaguars. Instead of looking at any negatives, we are going to look at what the players do well and if they could match what the Jaguars need at the specific role or position.

Next up: Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright. 


A West Virginia native, Wright was one of the top prospects in the class of 2019. Wright was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 recruit in West Virginia, the No. 2 offensive tackle in his class, and the No. 10 recruit in the nation. 

Wright ultimately committed to Tennessee despite pulling in 22 other offers, including offers from Alabama, West Virginia, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oregon, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, and Penn State. 

Wright played right away at Tennessee, starting five games at right tackle and two games at right guard. Among these starts were contests against Georgia and Alabama, with Wright earning experience against elite defenses early in his career. 

Wright started nine games at right tackle as a sophomore in 2020 before starting 13 games at left tackle in 2021. Wright led Tennessee's offense in snaps as a junior in a year in which Tennessee set school records for points scored and total offense.

Wright ultimately returned for his senior season, moving back to right tackle and starting all 13 games. Wright earned unanimous first-team All-SEC honors and was elected as a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award.

What Darnell Wright Does Well

Wright is simply a people-mover at right tackle. Few defensive linemen were safe from him in the run game, with Wright frequently creating movement off the snap thanks to his size, strength, physicality, and explosiveness. Wright carries his forward momentum with ease and is able to fire off the snap with proper balance and leverage, giving him even more advantages on top of his vicious strength, which allows him to displace defensive linemen and steer them out of gaps. Whether as a single drive blocker or on double teams, Wright is a top-tier blocker when it comes to creating movement and jumping up holes for running backs.

Wright's tone-setting physicality in the running game translates to the passing game, too. Wright does an excellent job of initiating contact in pass protection, jolting defenders in the middle of their frame with a powerful one-handed and two-handed punch. He can anchor against bull rushes with ease while also having the upper-body strength to force defensive ends out of their rush arc and redirect them with ease. 

Wright has enough athleticism and quickness in short areas to be an effective screen blocker as well. He is always looking for contact and has the patience and balance in space to hit moving targets, while also displaying the ability to anticipate a linebacker's trajectory. 

How Darnell Wright Would Fit With the Jaguars

Like a glove. Wright is likely best in a running game that lets him attack downhill and use his overpowering strength and size, but he also has the athleticism and balance to find success in a zone scheme. Considering the Jaguars showed a balanced running scheme last year that took advantage of Brandon Scherff's similar versatility, the Jaguars have shown they can fit a lineman like Wright along their front with ease. 

If the Jaguars' goal is to replace departed free agents with cheap contracts, then there might not be a more logical option to replace former starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor with Wright. Taylor thrived at right tackle in 2022 and ultimately started all 68 games for the Jaguars at right tackle since 2019, giving the Jaguars a quality right tackle on a cheap contract. The Jaguars still have a young offensive tackle on his first contract in Walker Little, but his rookie deal is already halfway over. Wright would the Jaguars another starting quality lineman for four years as opposed to potentially just two.

Wright also has the advantage of having started at multiple positions at Tennessee. If the Jaguars want to move Little inside and player Wright at right tackle, then Wright could do it. If the Jaguars want to keep Little at right tackle and move Wright to guard, he can do it -- he did it in college as a true freshman at the SEC level. And if the Jaguars want Wright to simply be a swing lineman and backup both Little and Robinson in 2023, he can do that as well since he has played right and left tackle. 

In short, there is zero question that Wright fits the Jaguars' needs and current roster construction. The biggest reason Wright would make so much sense, though, is that he has shown he can play three different positions along the line, which means he could fill in any role the Jaguars envision for him.


Just based on pure value, it would be impossible to not consider Darnell Wright at No. 24 overall if he was there. There is no reason a player with his profile should drop outside of the top-15, but perhaps Wright slips due to being primarily a right tackle, similar to Tristan Wirf's slip in 2020. With that said, Grinding the Mocks has Wright's average draft position at 24, which shows it isn't exactly far-fetched that he is available.

It is a fair question as to what the Jaguars would do with three offensive tackles in Wright, Walker Little, and Cam Robinson, but Wright would be a best player available pick to a tee. Wright has started games at guard before, too, and Little has the potential versatility to slide inside, so the Jaguars would have options and, ultimately, flexibility. Wright would be a home run pick.

For all of our 2023 NFL Draft profiles, click below.