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Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report



Viewed as a sleeper in the summer of 2022, Tennessee OT Darnell Wright has vaulted up boards and is now a potential first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Is the hype warranted, and how does Wright project to the next level? As his five-star pedigree implies, Wright can be an impact starter at his maximum potential.

Darnell Wright NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Offensive tackle
  • School: Tennessee
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Height/Weight: 6’5″, 333 pounds
  • Length: 33 3/4″
  • Hand: 9″

Ever since he put on a helmet, Wright has been on a collision course with the NFL draft. He was a five-star prospect and a top-five overall recruit coming out of high school in 2019. He had scholarship offers from all of the blue bloods — Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson — but instead chose to play for the University of Tennessee.

Since arriving at Tennessee, Wright has only kept climbing. He started seven games and played in 11 as a true freshman, earning Freshman All-SEC honors. He then became a full-time starter at right tackle in 2020. And in 2021, he moved to the blind side, starting all 13 games at the left tackle spot.

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Wright showed a lot of promise early in his time at Tennessee. He displayed versatility, reliability, and high-end physical talent. But 2022 was the first season he put it all together and showcased his potential as a high-level NFL starter.

Settling in at right tackle in 2022, Wright locked down his end of the line for quarterback Hendon Hooker, staving off opponents like Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. and Florida’s Brenton Cox Jr. Wright earned first-team All-SEC honors for his play. And as the draft process has progressed, he’s made his way into the highest ranks at his position.

Darnell Wright Scouting Report

In the NFL, where nearly every edge rusher is one of the best athletes on the planet, offensive tackles have to have enough in their toolbox to match. Not just size, length, and athleticism, but also proper technique, hands, and leverage. It’s an equation of the unteachable and the intangibles. How does it all add up for Wright?

Wright’s Positives

As you’d expect from a former consensus five-star recruit, Wright passes the eye test. At 6’5″, 333 pounds, he has excellent height and weight, with a massive frame that stores ample amounts of power. He also has great length, which he frequently puts to use in his game.

For his size, Wright shows off impressive athleticism. He’s quick out of his stance and showcases exceptional lateral explosion off the snap. He can quickly snap into position when responding to opponents and is an amped-up mover for his size.

Wright owns impressive initial burst heading to the second level and features impressive short-area athleticism. He can get great depth on his kick and glide across the edge with smooth lateral shuffles. Moreover, he has enough corrective athleticism to recover after initial losses.

Wright’s NFL Combine performance reaffirmed his athletic ability. At his size, he ran a stellar 5.01 40-yard dash with a strong 1.81 10-yard split. He also had a 29″ vertical and a 9’6″ broad jump. Wright’s broad jump figure, in particular, put him near the 98th percentile among offensive tackles. All of this is to say: Wright has the goods.

Wright can cover ground fairly efficiently in short ranges with long strides, and he’s also nimble and fleet-footed for his frame. He’s shown he has the requisite range to make blocks as a puller. But beyond that, Wright brings elite overall power capacity.

Wright stores devastating potential energy and knock-back power and can shock even larger defenders at contact, stonewalling opponents and halting momentum instantly with strikes. Going further, Wright can reload his arms and re-exert power with impressive suddenness and force.

Wright has the ability to channel power through leg drive and move defenders off their spot. He effectively drives power up through his base at the contact point but can also generate incredible power with hip rotation and upper-body torque. Wright can lock out defenders with ruthless torque on run plays and control pass protection reps with that rotation.

Additionally, Wright possesses excellent grip strength. He can lock down rip moves with impressive consistency — especially against smaller defenders — and maintain his anchor even against resistance. Wright has the core strength to keep defenders within his frame and control reps, and he can redirect momentum when opponents lose their balance. Furthermore, Wright’s able to latch and tug down opponents with great force.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Balance and leverage can be an issue at times, but for his size, Wright is very comfortable leaning and playing beyond his center of gravity. He can create controlled leverage to channel force into blocks. He appears to have good knee bend capacity as well. He can naturally lower himself and manage leverage.

Another impressive trait for Wright, considering his size, is his hip flexibility. He’s able to adjust his initial angle of engagement and flip his hips to redirect defenders in space. Moreover, the Tennessee OT experiences little delay when flipping his hips at the apex to wall off defenders.

Wright still has room to maximize both his hand usage and footwork, but he showed immense growth in 2022. Wright can effectively use independent hands and is active when gathering rushers. He’s very violent in resetting his hands and can actively combat sequential rushing moves in rapid succession.

He has a brutal snatch-and-trap with his upper-body quickness and power capacity, but he’s also shown he can punch and latch inside the defender’s frame, using his core strength to siphon control from his opponent.

For the most part, Wright has good upper-lower synergy and can use his hands and feet in conjunction to neutralize rushers. With his wide frame, he can consistently keep opponents in front of him and tightly extend inside the torso.

He has a solid sense of timing and can flash his hands and bait linemen into extending before swatting down extensions and latching with force. He leverages his frame well and has a strong outside hand to keep rushers from prying past.

With his footwork, Wright shows the capacity to use leverage steps off the snap to achieve the proper angle when blocking rushers. He also displays discretion and awareness with his set angle based on defender alignment and play call. Wright is fairly patient and disciplined with his positioning. The Tennessee OT can control reps by carefully managing depth, and he actively tempos his footwork to match rushers.

Going further, Wright can continually reset his base to absorb power. He’s an assignment-sound player who’s always alert and is very smooth and consistent at picking up stunts. Among other things, Wright actively works to exert physicality and dominate opponents. If opponents give up leverage, he’ll bury them into the turf. And as a draft prospect, his starting experience at left and right tackle, as well as right guard, will be valuable.

Wright’s Areas for Improvement

While Wright has great functional mobility for his size, he’s not elite in that department. He can’t always recollect his feet quickly after blocking in space. He also lacks elite range and change-of-direction ability. And in space, it can be difficult for him to manage his pad level. With his size, he naturally plays too tall at times. He can’t always sustain blocks with a taller pad level, and defenders can exploit his frame with superior leverage.

Wright’s length is exceptional, but that’s not quite an elite feature, either. Longer opponents can work past his arms to latch, rip, and wrench him off balance. They can also goad Wright into leaning too far and bending at the waist, which can impact his ability to keep his leverage and sustain blocks.

Going further, Wright’s hands can be too wide and high at times. Thus, defenders can get under his pads and slip free. Especially on moving blocks, he can be too wide with his grip. Although Wright has good knee bend capacity, he can stand to bend his knees more at times. His tendency to occasionally bend his waist detracts from leverage and restricts him from drawing power up through his base.

Wright has great hands, but there are times when he fails to strike cleanly. This, along with his width, can open up his torso to opposing power. Wright employed more independent hand usage in 2022, which is promising, but his two-hand extensions can still be too wide. He sometimes gets too grabby and bear-hugs his opponents. He’s also prone to occasional false starts.

Even after improvement in 2022, Wright’s footwork can still be a bit more controlled. He’s gotten better at maintaining balance through weight transfers, but he does occasionally plant too early and lurch past his center of gravity. Additionally, when defenders get a good first step, he sometimes panics and will turn his hips too early, allowing angles inside.

Current Draft Projection for Tennessee OT Darnell Wright

On my board, Wright is a top-three OT prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, a top-25 overall talent, and a natural right tackle worthy of mid-to-late Round 1 consideration. He had a Day 2 grade coming into the 2022 season, and he effectively delivered on his five-star pedigree, morphing into a high-level performer.

The potential was always visible with Wright, who has a five-star pedigree and visible talent on tape. At 6’5″, 333 pounds, with near-34″ arms, he has dominating size and power, and he also has impressive explosiveness and short-area athleticism for his size. With his burst, he gets off the snap quickly, and with his micro-mobility, he can match rushers, recover, and tempo his footwork off the line.

MORE: Top 10 OTs in the 2023 NFL Draft

As a run blocker, Wright can still improve at managing his leverage and keeping his hands tight, but his power capacity gives him road-grader potential. Meanwhile, he’s one of the class’ best pass protectors at the tackle spot. He’s synergetic with his hands and feet, can demolish rushers with precise, violent snatch-and-traps, and has the anchor to absorb power.

Even with his occasional leverage issues, Wright has shown he can play beyond his center of gravity, bend his knees, and lower himself. And with his hands, Wright has shown he can reload and re-exert with ruthless efficiency and force. He has tremendous potential as a pass protector in the modern NFL, and at his maximum, he can be an impact starter — well worth the price of a first-round pick.

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Players To Target Include Alexander Mattison, Jordan Addison, Adam Thielen, and Others




Kirk Cousins has been nothing short of royalty this season. He is the focal point of the Week 4 Minnesota Vikings fantasy football preview, while the passing game is the driving force behind what I’m interested in regarding the Carolina Panthers’ fantasy outlook.

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Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers

  • Spread: Vikings -3.5
  • Total: 45
  • Vikings implied points: 24.3
  • Panthers implied points: 20.8


Kirk Cousins: Fantasy’s top-ranked quarterback through three weeks is on an absolute tear, and it doesn’t look that crazy; he’s simply maximizing the tools at his disposal. In the Week 3 loss, half of his targets went to Justin Jefferson or T.J. Hockenson — that’s just smart football.

With Jordan Addison or K.J. Osborn turning in a splash play every week, the weapons on this roster, combined with the defensive limitations, put Cousins in a fantasy-friendly position more often than not.

I don’t think the Carolina Panthers (425 yards allowed to the Seattle Seahawks last week) are what slows this offense down, though I do have my concerns about the Carolina offense pushing Minnesota the way the Los Angeles Chargers did last week.

No, I don’t think Cousins throws for over 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns like his September pace would suggest, but I do think he is a top-10 option until something changes.

Andy Dalton: With Bryce Young sidelined last week, the Panthers elected to open up the playbook — and guess what? It worked. Well, sort of. They held a halftime lead as a 4.5-point underdog in Seattle and flirted with 400 yards of total offense when all was said and done.

Sure, they lost by 10 points, but it certainly wasn’t the fault of the offense, and it’s not crazy to think something similar could happen again this week. Dalton had 20 more completions than the Panthers had rushing attempts, something that simply was never going to happen with how this offense was operating with Young at the helm.

We will get to what this offense could look like when Young returns when the time comes, but with Dalton penciled in, it’s clear that this coaching staff is comfortable airing it out. I find it unlikely that he will repeat his QB7 finish from Week 3, but a top-15 effort is very possible and a great find for Superflex managers or DFS risk-takers.

Running Backs

Alexander Mattison: He’s still seeing north of 80% of the RB work in Minnesota, and until I see that change with my own two eyes, Mattison will be ranked as an RB2 for me. He set season highs in carries (20), catches (five), targets (seven), and scrimmage yards (125) last weekend in the crazy loss to the Chargers, flashing a usage level that only a handful of backs can claim.

His productive day could have been even better if not for a dropped red zone pass that could have turned into a touchdown with one missed tackle. The addition of Cam Akers looks like a depth move more than one of true competition to me.

That’s my view from a distance, given the draft capital spent and the limited success of Akers in Week 1 with the Los Angeles Rams (22 carries for 29 yards).

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Could I be wrong? Of course. It wouldn’t be the first time and certainly wouldn’t be the last, but until I have a tangible reason to fear Akers, I refuse to do so. In a spot like this or in the Week 4 Cheat Sheet.

Cam Akers: Follow the money. It may be cliche, but in a world where we often have to react to how a team uses a player to inform us what they think of him, the cost associated with acquiring a player is as good a sign of what the team anticipates that player to offer as anything.

Akers was acquired from the Rams last week, along with a 2027 seventh-round pick for a 2026 sixth-rounder. At that cost, the Vikings are not committed to making Akers work. They identified an underpriced asset and took a shot. Akers should be on the field and get some work in his Vikings debut, but he’s nothing more than roster depth until proven otherwise.

Miles Sanders: Carolina’s feature back has seen both his touch count and his yards per carry decline each week this season, obviously ominous trends. While those numbers are moving in the wrong direction, he is still the clear-cut option in this backfield and on a 68-catch pace.

He’s no different than a guy like James Conner: limited per-touch upside in a bad offense but a secure role that carries a reasonable floor. I’m not telling you Sanders will win you this week or a title this season, but I’d be surprised if he let you down in such a way that neither was possible. He’s right back in that RB16-20 range for me this week.

Wide Receivers

Justin Jefferson: What do you want me to say about this guy? Even in a week where he barely catches half of his targets, he turned around and gave you 24.4 half-PPR fantasy points, highlighted by a 52-yard touchdown where he showed route-running expertise in dismantling the Chargers’ zone coverage.

MORE: PFN Consensus Rankings

With 117 yards this week, he will bump his career per-game average to 100 yards. How crazy is that? For most receivers, 100 yards is a benchmark that deserves recognition. For Jefferson, it’s just another day at the office.

Jordan Addison: Was Week 3 a turning point? I’m not making an overly aggressive ranking move yet, but it is possible that in two months, we look back and circle Week 3 as the beginning of a serious run.

Yes, Addison scored in each of the first two weeks and didn’t in Week 3, but he finally out-earned K.J. Osborn in a significant way (eight targets to three), potentially signaling the earning of a role. We will see if the WR2 role is truly his moving forward (a role I have a top-25 spot in my WR ranks reserved for should an option emerge). I have him ranked as a low-end WR3 this week and am ready to move him up should we get reports of a role upgrade.

K.J. Osborn: His 36-yard touchdown featured a perfectly timed dive to the pylon, but it was his only reception of Week 3 (three targets). We’ve seen a secondary Viking receiver haul in a 30+-yard touchdown in all three games this season, and as long as Osborn’s name is in that mix, he deserves to be rostered.

I do think Addison wins this role, but I acknowledge that it is still a competition. Osborn is on the outside looking in at my top 45 at the position as I am reading more into the low usage from last week than the singular big play.

Adam Thielen: The veteran receiver has posted consecutive top-20 finishes and has hauled in 80% of his passes this season. The veteran is a proven touchdown maker, so if we get to blend efficiency and volume with that profile, we might be onto something. Assuming Dalton is under center, and thus the entire playbook is available, Thielen makes for a decent Flex play in PPR formats.

If you’ve made it this far, first of all, thank you. Thank you to the editors for the patience it takes to get to this point and to you, the reader, for listening to me ramble about fake football in a long form. I’ll reward you the only way I know how to: with a quirky stat!

Since 2019, one of every 6.9 Thielen catches has resulted in a TD. Let’s put some context on that. We are talking about the same rate as Randy Moss’ first five seasons and better than Calvin Johnson’s first five (7.5). Thank you again for your loyalty in reading this piece: now take that nugget to your Week 4 watch party and be the star of the event!

DJ Chark Jr.: Big receivers who see targets in bulk are a reasonable roll of the dice in a pinch, and the 6’3” Chark seeing 11 targets last week certainly has me interested.

The opportunity is more likely than not to dry up when Young returns, but if you’re chasing upside without any concern for downside (DFS GPP, an undermanned team in a survivor format, etc.), you could do worse (career: 14.5 yards per catch).

Jonathan Mingo: A concussion limited him to just 18 routes last week, and if you’re playing in an ultra-deep league, Terrace Marshall Jr. was the fill-in option. Neither is worth a look in most leagues, but if you want a cheap piece of this game for DFS, there’s your depth chart update.

Tight Ends

T.J. Hockenson: The fact that he averages 7.8 yards per catch isn’t great for his ceiling, but are you chasing a ceiling? No. No, you’re not. You want him to be consistent and to give you an edge on 90% of your league at the tight end position.

He’s doing just that. He is currently pacing for 130 receptions, and while I don’t think he gets there, the fact that you can lock him in for 10 points per game is unbelievably valuable at the tight end position.

Hayden Hurst: From a process standpoint, Hurst deserves a mention. He doesn’t carry much upside, but considering that he ran a route on 81.3% of his snaps in Week 3, he’s on my list of punt TE plays for Week 4.

Should You Start Jordan Addison or Garrett Wilson?

It was Osborn with the score last week, but as mentioned above, it was Addison filling the WR2 role in a significant way. That has me optimistic about his outlook for both this week and moving forward.

I can’t say that about Wilson and a Jets offense that is stuck in the mud. He is always going to carry elite, one-play upside, though this team is clearly having a hard time capitalizing on it. If I can bet against the Jets’ offense, I will, and getting to do so with the league’s leading passer makes this an easy call.

Should You Start Adam Thielen or Rashid Shaheed?

Benching Thielen for Shaheed after two different Week 3 performances may sound crazy, but that’s fantasy. Last week is in the past, and for this week, Shaheed takes on a poor pass defense with an aggressive quarterback.

Meanwhile, Thielen’s offense could go back into a shell with Bryce Young back under center.

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Why Did AD Mitchell Transfer? Explaining the WR’s Decision To Leave Georgia for Texas




Adonai (AD) Mitchell is one of the most explosive playmakers in college football. The junior wide receiver plays for the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Conference. He transferred from Georgia in 2022, where he was a contributor for two seasons. Mitchell is known best for catching four touchdowns in four College Football Playoff games for the Bulldogs.

But why did the future NFL Draft prospect transfer? And what was his reasoning behind his decision?

Why AD Mitchell Transfer From Georgia

Mitchell started 12 out of 15 games for the Bulldogs in 2021, catching touchdowns in both the playoff semifinal and championship games, and helped the team win their first title since 1980.

Although sidelined by an ankle injury for most of the 2022 season, Mitchell returned in time for the playoffs and caught touchdowns in both games, helping Georgia win back-to-back titles.

Shortly after winning the championship game against TCU, Mitchell transferred schools with his two-year-old daughter, Icylinn, in mind.

In less than a fortnight, he declared his plans to go to Texas. While he could have remained in Athens and basked in the applause as a Bulldog, he returned to Texas due to family reasons. Mitchell had spent most of his high school football career in Missouri City, Texas — close to Houston — until he relocated to Tennessee before his final year.

He closed the 900-mile distance to reunite with his family and join the explosive Longhorns offense. Being a draft-eligible junior made it an important decision.

Mitchell’s transfer announcement on social media included a photo of himself with Icylinn in his lap. She was holding a football, and both were dressed in Longhorns gear.

Now, instead of just FaceTime calls with his daughter, Mitchell can jump in the car for a two-hour drive for visits, which Norman Mitchell said happened often during the offseason.

“That’s honestly been the best part,” Mitchell said when asked about coming home to family. “When I was away, you know, I didn’t get that. I didn’t get that time with my mom. I didn’t get that time with my family and, most of all, my daughter.”

Mitchell joined a Texas team that was already well-stocked with receivers. His coaches were aware of his abilities, and Mitchell quickly sparked excitement among fans with an impressive one-handed catch during the spring game. He quickly brought that same energy on the field, racking up 78 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama in Week 2.

“He’s been in the fire, has been in the big games with big plays,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He brings instant credibility and backs it up.”

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Standing 6’4″ with blazing speed, Mitchell is a legitimate home-run threat. But he is also a precise route-runner, able to line up inside and outside and attack both in the vertical passing and quick games.

Mitchell is incredibly gifted, and he’s made his way into our 2024 NFL Draft big board as a top-100 talent. He could make his way into the first round due to his unique blend of size and speed.

Ian Valentino is a Fantasy and Betting Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Ian’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @NFLFilmStudy.

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What We Know About the Colorado Safety




Colorado Buffaloes safety Shilo Sanders, son of head coach Deion Sanders, has been dealing with an unknown, undisclosed injury that has left his status up in the air against USC in Week 5. Will Sanders play this week, and if not, when will he return to action?

Shilo Sanders Injury Update

Sanders has been downgraded to doubtful to play against the eighth-ranked USC Trojans on Saturday, per Pete Thamel of ESPN. Sanders didn’t practice this week after being taken to the emergency room following last week’s loss against Oregon. The senior safety told Well Off Media he was urinating blood due to a kidney injury.

“I can’t say I didn’t play hard. I’m peeing blood right now,” Sanders said after getting off the plane. “I made a tackle, and I landed on my kidney or something. I got to go to the ER to get checked.”

Sanders was marked as questionable to play throughout the week, but on Saturday, it was revealed that he was not expected to play. Rodrick Ward is expected to start in his place.

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Colorado already was at a major talent disadvantage in this game. Star receiver and cornerback Travis Hunter is out with his own lacerated kidney, and USC is one of the most powerful offenses in the nation. Losing Sanders further complicates things for a team that ranks 111th in passing defense.

Sanders has racked up 26 tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble in 2023. Previously an unheralded defender, the 6’0″, 195-pounder began his career at South Carolina before transferring to Jackson State when his father took the head coaching job. Sanders followed his father and his brother, Shedeur Sanders, to Colorado.

Shilo has emerged as a potential 2024 NFL Draft prospect in his own right. He has another year of eligibility, so there’s no guarantee he’ll come out this year.

We’ll continue to update this article as new information emerges.

Ian Valentino is a Fantasy and Betting Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Ian’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @NFLFilmStudy.

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List to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

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