NY Jets seem unlikely to draft OT Darnell Wright, per reports
By Ryan Shafer
With the 15th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the NY Jets have long been linked to many of the top offensive linemen. Some of the names floated around include Broderick Jones of Georgia, Peter Skoronski of Northwestern, and Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State.
Those three have been the consensus top three offensive tackles throughout the draft process. Additionally, Darnell Wright of Tennessee, Dawand Jones of Ohio State, and Anton Harrison of Oklahoma have received some buzz as possible first-round prospects.
As of Thursday afternoon, though, it appears that the Jets have started to really narrow their list down a bit, cutting out some of the players at the position.
As per ESPN’s Todd McShay, the Jets have soured on Wright due to weight concerns. Listed between 335 and 345 pounds depending on the source, Wright is certainly large. Concerns about foot speed and pass block consistently against speedy NFL pass-rushers have kept him outside the top three tackles.
For comparison, both Johnson and Skoronski are listed at 313 pounds, while Jones is listed at 311. Wright is a legitimate 30 pounds heavier than these guys. He’s a behemoth of a lineman.
Moreover, Wright has had weight concerns in the past. Back in 2021 while at Tennessee, Wright reported to camp at over 360 pounds before his freshman season before dropping to 340 as a sophomore and 325 as a junior. Could Wright have put some of that additional weight back on and really be closer to 350?
The Jets know all too well that linemen with weight concerns can be a massive headache in the NFL — just look at oft-injured Jets tackle Mekhi Becton. Becton, after a dominant rookie season, gained weight and has found himself injured for essentially the entirety of the last two seasons.
The Jets cannot afford two first-round overweight offensive linemen spending time on the injured reserve together. They need to ensure they get this pick right and make sure they avoid any potential issues.
Other linemen notes before the draft
ESPN's Rich Cimini agrees with McShay: the Jets are definitely targeting a tackle, and not Darnell Wright. He believes their preference is Broderick Jones.
NFL.com's Peter Schrager has also heard a lot of rumblings about the Jets and a tackle. He claims, though, that the team will not reach for one at 15. If Jones, Skoronski, and Johnson are all off the board, the Jets will either trade down or draft a different position of need, possibly Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Brian Branch.
A surprise name to keep an eye out for is Cody Mauch of North Dakota State. Mauch is a fifth-year college player with tons of experience on the right and left sides, playing exclusively on the left the past two seasons.
As a slightly undersized tackle, he has the versatility to slide to guard and fits perfectly in a Shannahan zone running scheme — exactly what the Jets use. If they don’t go tackle at 15, Mauch could make sense at 43 or in a trade-down scenario in the second round.
Many of the most notable NFL draft insiders have the Jets taking a tackle at pick 15. Mel Kiper Jr. and Daniel Jeremiah both have the Jets taking Skoronski. Todd McShay, Bucky Brooks, and Josh Norris have linked Broderick Jones to the Jets.
No matter the eventual choice, it is obvious that the consensus is an offensive tackle at 15.