Jaylen Wright - RB - Tennessee

Jaylen Wright contributed to the Tennessee rushing attack right out of the gates as a freshman and continued to contribute in all three of his seasons with the Vols. But he’s just now catching a lot of people’s eyes this offseason. What popped that got everyone on the bandwagon after a deeper dive?

Measurables

Height: 5′ 10″

Weight: 210 lbs

Age: 21

40-yard dash: 4.38s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 38″

Broad Jump: 11’2″

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Rushing & Receiving Table
RushingReceivingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2021TennesseeSECFRRB9854094.846223.70914314.74
*2022TennesseeSECSORB131468756.010284.001488836.010
*2023TennesseeSECJRRB1213710137.44221416.4015911547.34
CareerTennessee36822976.218301715.7039824686.218
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 5/21/2024.

Notable Headlines

Jaylen Wright started his collegiate career at Tennessee as just a 3-star recruit out of North Carolina. But that star rating didn’t matter as he showed what he was capable of and committed right out of the gates for the Vols with 409 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns. He was fourth on the team in rushing yards behind Jabari Small, quarterback Hendon Hooker, and Tiyon Evans. Before the 2022 season started, Tiyon Evans transferred out and Wright was named to Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List” as he clocked 23.6 miles per hour in practice at a listed 5’11” and 210 lbs. 

Wright took a huge leap as he jumped over both Hooker and Small in rushing yards in 2022. Although Small had more carries, they were pretty neck and neck in 2022. His true junior season was another jump as he reached his first 1,000-yard season. He was the clear 1a in the Vols’ offense as he led all rushers in carries and yards on the ground. He even finally got involved in the passing game a bit with 22 receptions and 141 yards through the air. In 2023 he earned Second-Team All-SEC honors.

Scouting Report

Positives

Wright shows generally good vision even into the second level when he shows flashes of manipulating linebackers while still behind the line of scrimmage. He has an elite-level burst that he pairs with that vision to take advantage of the gaping holes that the Tennessee offense was able to scheme up. And when he gets to the open field he is gone with his 4.38s 40-yard dash speed that is apparent on film. While he won’t be making 90-degree turns on a dime, he does show good enough change of direction to adjust to changes at the line of scrimmage or make defenders miss. That paired with good speed control and an ability to throttle up at an instant, makes him a subtly elusive back.

Additionally, he shows good lower body strength with an ability to run through arm tackles with ease. And while he didn’t show a ton as a natural pass catcher, he did show an ability to be a tenacious pass blocker. Potentially enough so to get him usage on third downs despite the lacking ability as a difference maker in the receiving game.

Negatives

Wright showed a good ability to run through arm tackles when he gets a head of steam, but he’s not one to push piles and fight for those tough short yards consistently or push piles. And while he does have explosive acceleration ability, he didn’t quite have that same throttle ability in his decelerations. And there is a lack of plus playmaking abilities in third-down situations. He lacks a lot of pass-catching reps and appears to be just average after the catch. He wasn’t quite fluid turning upfield and ran mostly generic “running back” routes.

Post Draft Analysis

Miami Dolphins – Round 4, Pick 20

Landing Spot

The Miami Dolphins love stockpiling fast and athletic players at the skill positions. While there isn’t an immediate need for running backs on the team, one doesn’t have to look too far into the future to see the need. Raheem Mostert is 32 years old. Devon Achane looked like one of the most electric backs in the NFL last season but struggled to stay on the field due to injuries. Wright seems like a great Achane insurance plan for 2023 and long term a potential seamless Raheem Mostert replacement. Achane and Wright could be an electric young running back duo, and both Achane and Mostert proved to be fantasy-relevant while on the field at the same time last season.

Fantasy Impact

Wright might just be a handcuff this year behind Devon Achane and Raheem Mostert, but Achane struggled with injuries last year and it’s hard not to imagine that Mostert could have injury issues at 32 years old. And in the potent Miami offense, Wright could quickly be an RB1 in fantasy if he were to fill in for either of the two established backs in year one. But the main selling point is the Mostert replacement in 2025 and on. Mostert and Achane were a bit more volatile when both were healthy at the same time, but there’s no denying the potential Wright and Achane could have together in Mike McDaniel’s offense.

As always, if you want something more specific to your league- reach out! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram