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NFL Draft Rewind: No. 11 Darnell Wright

Darnell Wright
Darnell Wright (© Jamar Coach / USA TODAY NETWORK)

The NFL Draft kicks off with its opening round on April 27 in Kansas City, so Rivals is taking a look back at its projected first-round picks when they were high school prospects. We move on to our projected No. 11 – Tennessee OT Darnell Wright, who was a five-star in the 2019 class.

Wright is yet another alum of the Rivals Camp Series – making it eight of our top 11 NFL Draft projections that competed in and helped make their name at Rivals camps.

NFL DRAFT REWIND: No. 1 Bryce Young | No. 2 CJ Stroud | No. 3 Will Anderson | No. 4 Will Levis | No. 5 Tyree Wilson | No. 6 Jalen Carter | No. 7 Anthony Richardson | No. 8 Nolan Smith | No. 9 Peter Skoronski | No. 10 Christian Gonzalez


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Where they were ranked: The last remaining five-star offensive tackle in the 2019 class behind only Evan Neal (New York Giants), Wright was ranked No. 16 overall. Charles Cross (Seattle Seahawks) and Kenyon Green (Houston Texans) were five-stars ranked behind Wright, the only five-star from the state of West Virginia in Rivals' history dating back to 2002.

Recruitment: The five-star offensive tackle really took his time with recruiting and dragged it out until the February signing day when he picked Tennessee, the longtime leader. His coach had favored the Vols for a while and Wright loved it in Knoxville. West Virginia tried hard to keep him in-state with North Carolina, Georgia and others also involved.

Biggest question: Power and size are no issues for Wright at all but can the massive 6-foot-5, 333-pound offensive tackle be nimble enough on his feet to deal with the length and speed of NFL edge rushers? Tennessee signed Andre Dillard to a large contract at left tackle but Wright could be the answer on the opposite side.

Memories: The issue with Wright throughout his recruitment – and trying to project him into college and potentially the NFL – was not his play on the field. It was whether he could stay in shape and look like an elite offensive tackle who could handle speed and length on the outside.

Whether it was at a Rivals Camp Series event, at the National Combine in San Antonio or at the Under Armour All-America Game, the five-star would always be moving up and down with his weight. While he looked good on the field, it was a concern that it would go badly for him over the long haul.

Wright was always big and so he handled high school defensive linemen at regional events with ease. The real test and the final decision on whether he would end up as a five-star prospect in the 2019 class was whether he could deliver at the highest level at the Under Armour Game.

He came into the week in Orlando looking like he enjoyed the holiday meals too much and to be fair it was awhile after his senior season ended, but he still performed well, especially during 1-on-1s. After some performances early in the week, it was going to be tough to pull the five-star ranking because he delivered once again.