Darnell Wright named Jacksonville Jaguars ideal pick in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft
The Jacksonville Jaguars seemed to have narrowed down the list of players they will target at No. 24 in the 2023 NFL Draft to edge rusher Nolan Smith, offensive guard O'Cyrus Torrence, and safety Brian Branch. However, Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report thinks they should also consider selecting Tennesee right tackle Darnell Wright.
With the draft inching closer, Ballentine put together a list of ideal first-round prospects for each NFL club and he thinks Jacksonville should target Wright with the 24th overall pick, citing the need to replace Jawaan Taylor, who signed a four-year contract worth $80 million with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
"The Tennessee lineman is a natural fit because of his experience and success at right tackle. With Cam Robinson already established on the left, Wright can man the same spot he did most recently in Knoxville where he gave up no sacks and just two quarterback hits, per PFF. It doesn't hurt that Wright played on the left side in 2021. That just gives future flexibility as the Jaguars continue to do the best they can to surround Lawrence with everything he needs to be successful."
A five-star recruit out of high school, Wright made 42 starts at Tennessee, 27 of them at right tackle and 13 on the left side. He was named First-Team All-SEC in 2022 and also made the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2019. Although the West Virginia native lacks elite foot quickness and must improve his posture, he's an outstanding run blocker that can develop into a quality NFL starter.
The Jacksonville Jaguars may prioritize other positions in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft
The Jaguars could plug in Wright at right tackle from the get-go but given the presence of third-year offensive tackle Walker Little, they might opt to focus on upgrading other positions, such as pass rusher, cornerback or even offensive tackle.
A second-round pick in 2021, Little has made only eight starts over the last two years but he's flashed starting potential. In fact, he took the competition for the right tackle job last summer to the wire, which is a bit surprising when you take into account that he was switching sides after playing on the left throughout most of his NFL career. It's reasonable to believe that he should be able to get fully acclimated to line up at right tackle if the coaching staff gives him the change in training camp.
The Jags could bring Wright to compete with Little for the right tackle spot and address other needs in Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft but if the team's brass feels comfortable with the latter, it might make more sense to bolster other position groups. In fact, they might be better off going after O'Cyrus Torrence since left guard Ben Barch, who dislocated his knee last season, might not be ready for the start of training camp. Also, Bartch is entering a contract year, so Jacksonville may consider finding his replacement if they plan to let him walk in 2024.
Wright is a fine prospect, one that could become a mainstay of the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line for years to come. Having said that, there are other position groups that might need more immediate attention, which is why he might not be the pick at No. 24.