Commanders should monitor Jaylen Wright
- Running Back | Tennessee Volunteers
- What to look for: Pass catching
The Kansas City Chiefs hit the jackpot with Isaiah Pacheco in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. I don’t want to oversell Jaylen Wright by saying he is the next steal, but there are some definite similarities.
Both runners are slightly undersized but have exceptional explosiveness. Wright does not run as violently as Pacheco does - I’m not sure anyone since Marshawn Lynch does - but he shows enough power to break arm tackles with relative ease.
Wright does most of his damage in the middle of the field, exploding through small gaps between the tackles. Once he clears the line, he is very hard to stop.
The Tennessee prospect is a natural runner with excellent vision and balance. His power and speed numbers are off the charts - clocked at more than 23 miles per hour in practice this year with a vertical jump of 44 inches. That’s better than Saquon Barkley - but to be fair, he carries a lot more weight.
The Washington Commanders already have two quality inside runners in Brian Robinson Jr. and Chris Rodriguez Jr. Wright is not more powerful than either, but he does show the speed to break big runs. Something this team has been lacking for a long time.
For Wright to make sense for the Commanders, he will need to show that he can be dangerous in the passing game. He didn’t show much of that with the Volunteers. The question for Washington is whether that lack of productivity was due to scheme and his role as the primary ball carrier, or whether running patterns and catching the ball simply isn’t in his wheelhouse.
He has displayed a decent ability to pass protect, which is often harder for young running backs to pick up. If Wright shows talent as a receiver, he could turn into a valuable weapon.