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Darnell Wright Should Be a Day 1 Draft Option | Washington Commanders


By Adam Aniba

This year's draft features a deep group of offensive lineman, particularly at Left and Right tackle. One SEC prospect and former 5-star recruit, lined up at every o-line spot with the exception of center.


Tennessee OT Darnell Wright had an impressive career with the Vols and his ability & versatility certainly translate to the next level.



Darnell Wright

6'5" 333 lbs | OT | UT

Draft Proj Late 1st Rd

Background

Wright grew up in Huntington, WV and attended Huntington HS. As a junior, Wright helped his team to a 12-1 record and the semifinal round of the Class AA state playoffs in '17 while playing offensive LT/RT and Guard.


Wright was a 3-time Class AAA All-State selection by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, 2019 First-Team American, 2018 MaxPreps Preseason All-America second team selection and 2018 First-Team USA Today All-USA West Virginia Team.


The Huntington tackle was a consensus 5-star recruit and one of the nation’s top 10 prospects. In '19 he was named to the Under Armour All-America Game with offers from multiple Power 5 and SEC programs. Wright committed to play for Tennessee with the chance to see the filed as a freshman.


As a freshman, Wright started 5 games (active in 11 games) at right tackle and two games at right guard. The Huntington HS lineman received Freshman All-SEC honors, after registering 360 offensive snaps during his first season.


During his '20 sophomore season, Wright started 9 games at right tackle (active in 10 games). Wright had one of his most dominant performances vs # 23 Auburn (11/21) helping the Vols rush for 222 yards.


In '2021, Wright started all 13 games, but flipped to left tackle. After primarily playing RT for his career, he displayed his versatility and upside on the blindside vs #4 ranked Alabama (10/23). Against Nick Saban's Tide, Wright registered 57 snaps at left tackle and didn't allow a sack.


When the Vols faced Mizzou (10/2), Wright helped the offense rush for 458 yards (682 total yards of offense). Tennessee's offensive line set a program records in '21 with 511 points and 6,174 yards of total offense.


Last season Wright started all 13 games, moving back to right tackle and finished the '22 season tied for the team lead with 895 toal snaps.


The Vols offensive tackle was a unanimous 1-team All-SEC selection, semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award. He was recognized as one of the SEC's best offensive lineman, if not the best in 2022.


Awards & Accolades

in 2022 Wright allowed 0 sacks with an average blocking efficiency of 99.0 or better according to Pro Football Focus. The Vols OT was the only SEC offensive lineman with more than 850 snaps played, finishing the season with an efficiency rating of over 99.1.


Tennessee's offense led the nation in total offense with 525.5 yards per game and 46.1 points per. Wright's final career game took place vs the #7 ranked Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl, in which Wright dominated not allowing a pressure or sack.


PROS

  • Boasts legit strength with a ferocious initial punch (quick hands)

  • Much improved kick-slide

  • Versatility to play LT, RT & Guard increase his stock

  • Displays patience in pass protection and avoids lunging, while keeping his base centered

  • Excelled at combo blocks, showing his ability to open up lanes in the run game


CONS

  • Struggles to redirect speed rushers at times

  • Needs to be more decisive in the run game when blocking in space/downfield

  • Needs refinement when it comes to his bend and overall stance

  • Gets caught grabbing too often and needs refinement with his counter moves

  • Needs to be a better finisher and keep his head on a swivel


Outlook

Wright finished his career not allowing a sack in 19 consecutive games (played in 47 games/42 starts) with 27 starts at right tackle, 2 at right guard and 13 at left tackle (2,746 offensive snaps in his 4 seasons).


Wright is a day 1 plug & play play tackle or guard. At right tackle in 2022 he had his best season receiving 1st-team All-SEC honors.


Some evaluators believe he should permanently move inside to guard. The team that selects Wright would be wise to play him at right tackle in year one. In saying that, the Vols tackle has the ceiling to move to left tackle in time to and be a 10+-year blindside protector in the NFL


*Games Watched- 9/24/22 vs UF, 10/8 vs LSU, 10/15 ALA, 11/5 vs UGA, 11/12 vs MIZZOU & 12/30 vs CLEM


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