Darnell Wright is shooting up draft boards faster than Tennessee football was able score points on offense in 2022. The former collegiate standout has turned into a possible first-round pick in the NFL Draft. That doesn’t surprise Tennessee tight end Jacob Warren at all.
During the Vol Report, Warren recalled a time in which Wright let his physical skills be known for anyone that was paying attention. It occurred during practice last season when an onlooking defensive player, who Warren chose not to name, was trying to talk trash to Wright during a pass rush drill.
Wright, who was lined up to take part in the drill, could have been distracted by his teammate. That wasn’t the case. He was able to block a defensive end while staring down the other defensive player in a crowd of Vols.
It wasn’t noticeable in the moment. However, Warren said Tennessee football offensive players could see Wright’s helmet stripes pointed in the direction of the would-be trash talker during the drill while he was fully engaged in the drill.
“Darnell stares down the man behind the guy that he’s blocking,” Warren recalled, “I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know. I thought that was just absolutely crazy. We sat in our meeting for like five minutes and just kept watching it, like, how does he even do that?”
The practice play was symbolic of Wright’s approach to football as a whole. He may not be the loudest leader in a group of players, but his ability and his play speak volumes. That’s what, Warren said, he looks for in a leader.
“You look for someone that can maintain a-level head and is a very, very mature competitor,” Warren said. “Being mature when you compete, understanding that you know there’s going to be highs and lows. There’s going to be times when you get beaten, going to be times when you know you just absolutely dominate somebody and it’s about lining up again and about doing it again.
“He never looks out of control. He never looks, scared or flustered or never looks panicked…he just continues to fight and will finish and use his big body and you make it work the best he can.”
That should be good news for NFL scout. However, that leaves a big hole to fill at right tackle for Tennessee football.
Wright was widely lauded for his play at the Senior Bowl last week. Some even moved Wright up to the first round in their mock drafts.