Jaguars trade up to take OT Darnell Wright in CBS Sports latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft
There are several paths the Jacksonville Jaguars can take to replace right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who left in free agency to join the Kansas City Chiefs. Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports recently explore one in which they trade up in the 2023 NFL Draft and select Tennessee offensive lineman Darnell Wright.
In his latest mock draft, Wilson has the Jags moving up four spots in the first round to take Wright with the 21st overall selection. He argues that Walker Little can step in at right tackle in Jacksonville but notes that he wasn't able to beat Taylor in training camp, which is why he thinks Wright is an enticing option.
"The Jags lost Jawaan Taylor in free agency, and while Walker Little would seem to be the next man up, the 2021 second-round pick wasn't able to beat out Taylor for the job last August. He fared well in fill-in duty at left tackle late last season, but as Jacksonville looks to take the next step, protecting Trevor Lawrence is job No. 1. Wright, meanwhile, is a first-round talent all day long, and don't be surprised if he's RT1 -- and maybe even one of the first offensive linemen off the board. "
To move from No. 23 to 21 in Wilson's mock, the Jags give the Los Angeles Chargers the 24th overall selection and pick No. 127 (fourth-round). All things considered, this seems like fair compensation to move three spots in the first round.
A five-star prospect out of high school, Wright was an anchor on the Vols' offensive line. One huge thing working in his favor is that he made 13 starts at right tackle last season, so he wouldn't have to switch sides in the NFL. This could in turn help him get acclimated quickly.
Brandon Thorn of the Bleacher Report scouting department notes that Wright struggles when pass rushers line up out wide and adds that his "average-level foot quickness and range" will make it difficult for him to protect the corner on the outside. On the other hand, Thorn believes Wright can become a quality starter at right tackle and even earn multiple contracts in the NFL.
Drafting Darnell Wright at No. 24 would make sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite the fact that corner and pass rusher probably rank higher than right tackle on the Jacksonville Jaguars' priority list, drafting Darnell Wright in the first round doesn't necessarily look like a bad move. In the best-case scenario, the former Tennesse Vol becomes a Day 1 starter and Walker Little enters the 2023 season as the designated swing tackle.
Worst case, Wright starts the season on the bench and develops until he's ready to join the starting lineup. Little and left tackle Cam Robinson will enter contract years in 2024, so it would be smart for the Jaguars to have a clear succession plan in place. Moreover, Jacksonville doesn't have to take a cornerback in the first round. They can wait until the second or third given how deep this year's class is.
Simply, there are different approaches the Jaguars can take to fill all their needs in the draft and the last thing they want is to back themselves into a corner to address a position. If Wright or any of the other top offensive tackle prospects are available when they're on the clock, they shouldn't hesitate to take him. Similarly, if the team's brass thinks that they must move up a few spots to land their guy, they should work the phone lines.