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Top 2023 draft prospect Darnell Wright blasted by NFL scouts for work ethic, poor character

Former Tennessee Volunteers offensive tackle Darnell Wright is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. After ascending up NFL mock drafts for weeks, though, it appears many in the NFL have significant concerns with the 6-foot-6 tackle.

Wright, a first-team All-SEC selection, had one of the best pre-draft periods of any prospect. The 21-year-old stood out, dominated at the Senior Bowl then delivered an excellent performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

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A five-star recruit in 2019, Wright showed impressive positional versatility at Tennessee. He started a full season on both sides of the offensive line, most recently playing right tackle this past season. Already viewed as a great athlete with NFL-caliber size, Wright’s standout performances against the Georgia Bulldogs defensive line and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. generated even more buzz.

Inconsistency still resulted in Wright only being viewed as a top-50 pick. However, the 6-foot-5 offensive tackle stood out during the pre-draft process. He’s now firmly viewed as one of the best offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft, but it seems many around the league have significant concerns regarding his character and work ethic.

Go Long’s Bob McGinn spoke to NFL scouts about the 2023 offensive tackle class. Regarding Wright, the scouts agreed he had premium talent but they offered strong criticisms of his work ethic, interest in football and character.

“This guy’s a starting left or right tackle. Case closed. But when you dig into it, he’s never been much of a worker. Barely does enough to get by. Not super cooperative. Hard work is not in his vocabulary. Just does enough…”

NFL scout to Bob McGinn on offensive tackle prosepct Darnell Wright

NFL teams were clearly impressed by Wright’s tape, especially when factoring in his upside. While a coaching staff will need to help him clean up his hand usage and body positioning, Wright’s traits and his standout performances against elite talent bode well for his future.

However, Wright can only reach his high ceiling if he buys into the coaching and puts in the required work necessary to improve. Based on the feedback McGinn received from NFL scouts, there is significant doubt regarding Wright’s character.

“He’s got character but he’s talented. He’s just a poor football character. Lazy, but he blocked Alabama, he blocked Georgia like it was nothing.”

Anonymous NFL scout on Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright

Wright’s talent and prototypical size will still make him a first-round pick. However, the fear from teams seems to be tied to a belief that Wright could be the next Isaiah Wilson. Drafted with eh 29th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Wilson went from earning second-team All-SEC honors to being out of the league after the 2021 season.

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Despite the risks, there will be multiple teams willing to take a chance on Wright with the hope he becomes one of the best right tackles in the NFL. However, the red flags discovered during the pre-draft process will follow him early in his NFL career.