Commanders take stud OT prospect in post-NFL Combine mock draft

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Darnell Wright
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Darnell Wright /

The Washington Commanders took promising offensive tackle Darnell Wright in The Draft Network’s latest mock following the NFL Scouting Combine.

With the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine firmly in the books, the Washington Commanders and others have plenty to ponder. Although attention quickly turns to the upcoming free-agent frenzy, those in power now have a broader indication of which prospects are potential targets after watching them in action and speaking with many throughout a busy week in Indianapolis.

The Commanders have some obvious needs right now. This might change depending on what veterans they acquire from the free agency market, which head coach Ron Rivera stated is their biggest challenge that could provide extra freedom when the 2023 NFL Draft arrives.

Regardless of which established players come into the fold, it’s evident that the Commanders need some long-term answers across the offensive line. Relying on indifferent veterans – some down on their luck – is no longer an option if Washington wants Eric Bieniemy to thrive following his arrival from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Commanders take OT Darnell Wright in post-NFL Combine mock

This is a sentiment echoed by Jaime Eisner of The Draft Network, who has the Commanders selecting promising offensive tackle Darnell Wright at No. 16 overall in his post-NFL Scouting Combine mock draft.

"“A strong pass-protector that has had nothing but buzz over the last month, Darnell Wright is a name you need to start talking about in the first-round conversation. Wright has the power and mass to make an impact from day one and has experience playing on both sides of the line. He met with Washington at the NFL Combine and would be a great fit for the Commanders.”"

As Eisner added, Wright met with Washington during the combine and further enhanced his credentials with a standout testing process. The former Tennessee star is a fast riser up draft boards across the country, which could see him enter top-20 consideration upon further evaluation before the all-important selection weekend.

At 6-foot-5 and 333 pounds, Wright has the size and length normally associated with productive NFL tackles. He ranked third overall after testing among all offensive linemen, which is another strong indicator of the athletic attributes the prospect brings to the table.

The testing matches the tape where Wright is concerned. He is vastly experienced, anticipates things well, and has the agility to react accordingly – traits that are sure to go down extremely well at the next level.

A former five-star high school recruit, Wright has a thick frame that is incredibly difficult to get around. While there could be some problems against NFL pass-rushers with elite explosiveness, it would be a shock if the player wasn’t able to make an immediate contribution.

This is enhanced by Wright’s capability to play either tackle position with minimal fuss. There is a long way to go in the pre-draft assessment process, but this makes a ton of sense for the Commanders as they look to finally stabilize an offensive line that just hasn’t been the same since Trent Williams departed in 2020.

That’s a long time to be without a premier offensive tackle. Whether it’s Wright or someone else, the Commanders have to get their next move right to stand any chance of mounting an NFC East title challenge next time around.

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