Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft begins in less than three weeks time. The Buffalo Bills still have needs to address on offense and defense. It remains to be seen if the public perception is in line with the team perception at the right tackle position. The fan base has recognized young and current starter Spencer Brown, a former Day 2 selection, as an early disappointment from the standpoint that he’s been a human turnstile in at least a handful of performances the past two seasons. His 2022 season didn’t show the development fans (and likely the team) were hoping for in many ways. An offseason back surgery deterred him from any preseason on-field work and Brown was tossed into the starting lineup for Week 1 without a typical build up to the season.
Whether the Bills do elect to draft a right tackle in the early rounds will depend on how much the team believes in the development of Brown with the context of his back recovery in the 2022 offseason. We’re never truly sure with this regime and calling their bluff is a tough egg to crack. General manager Brandon Beane plays close to vest in terms of team needs while still recognizing that there are always opportunities to improve everywhere. With that in mind, we should consider some options at right tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft.
One of the more popular pure right tackles in the class is Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, who the Bills are hosting as one of their top-30 pre-draft visitors. Wright is likely a late Day 1 or early Day 2 prospect, and he’s next up for evaluation on our scouting spotlight series.
I analyzed Wright’s All-22 film in 2022 to see exactly what the Bills would be getting in Wright if he were to be the selection.
Darnell Wright Scouting Report
Tennessee offensive tackle prospect Darnell Wright is a player who’s carried a big-time pedigree since high school, where he was the rare five-star prospect coming out of the state of West Virginia. Wright has had a rocky road on his road to the NFL, originally being scrutinized as a bust for the Tennessee program. But a switch over to the right side of the offensive line revitalized his career and allowed him to soar as a prospect. Wright has very natural athleticism and strength, but is still green in the technical aspects with his upper body. Wright is clay for an offensive line coach who believes they can improve his punch placement and timing
Combine Testing: 5.01 40-yard dash; 29” vertical; 9’6” broad jump
- Explosive first step and drive in the run game
- Stopping power to dislodge defensive tackles and drive them into the turf
- King of the knockdown when assisting on combo blocks
- Clean kick slide with ability to mirror athletic rushers with inside/outside counters
- Clean lower half that never seems to misstep; Changes directions at will
- Gets his head over his toes too often; playing with better balance will eliminate some key issues with getting tossed at times
- Plays out of control attacking second level; Hair on fire tenacity backfires at times
- Upper body technique needs work; Hand usage will be a big learning step at the next level with placement needing to be a major priority right away
Darnell Wright is ruining my Ojulari watch pic.twitter.com/LgUHmxJ0iA— Joel Chandler (@BengalScoutJoel) March 21, 2023
Why Darnell Wright fits the Bills
We’ve already gone over why right tackle could very well be a need this offseason because of the lack of positive development for 2021 draft selection Spencer Brown. Wright moves well for being such a big body. The Bills seem to be leaning into a zone run scheme with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer after failing to find an identity the last few seasons. Wright needs work to tempo movements on pulls and in working his angles. But there’s proven SEC production for Wright performing remarkably well against rushers set to be high draft selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. If Kromer and the Bills can hone in Wright’s pacing and hand punch, One Bills Drive will have, at minimum, a solid starter at right tackle for years to come. The question remains if Darnell Wright will be ready to start from day one.