Jaylen Wright’s Draft Profile | Tennessee, RB Scouting Report

After declaring early as an underclassman prospect, can Tennessee's Jaylen Wright use his scouting report to be the first RB selected in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Tennessee Volunteers RB Jaylen Wright was one of the earliest underclassmen to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft. His 2023 campaign made his decision easy, and if he runs anywhere close to what he’s expected to in the 40-yard dash, Wright could be one of the first rushers picked.

Jaylen Wright Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 210 pounds
  • Position: Running Back
  • School: Tennessee
  • Current Year: Junior

Wright joined the Volunteers as a three-star recruit out of Durham, North Carolina, in 2020 with relatively little fanfare. But in just three seasons time, he’s grown into an early-round talent and an all-league producer.

The flashes of talent were there from the start. As a true freshman in 2021, Wright logged 409 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 85 carries. In 2022, alongside Jabari Small, he amassed 875 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry.

Small — the veteran of the group — was expected to shoulder the highest volume of the Volunteers’ RB rotation in 2023, but Wright threw a wrench in the plan with his stellar play.

He ultimately racked up 1,013 yards and four touchdowns on 137 carries, averaging an impressive 7.4 yards per attempt. Wright also caught 22 passes for 141 yards.

An efficient runner and a dynamic big-play threat with a max speed of 23 MPH, Wright has a skill set that makes him one of the most tantalizing RB prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft — especially after the emergence of running backs like Miami Dolphin De’Von Achane and Baltimore Raven Keaton Mitchell.

Wright’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Quantifiably elite speed and explosiveness threat with home-run ability in open space
  • Long-striding, low-to-the-ground boundary bandit who reliably trails wide zone runs
  • Able to use abrupt angle spasms while keeping stride to induce hesitation in defenders
  • Can use his hyperactive, short-area jitter to correct his attack angles ahead of gaps
  • Has the hip flexibility to weave his way upfield past lunging defenders and stay clean
  • Possesses a good mix of patience and decisiveness and can instinctively flow to space
  • Speed and instincts allow him to consistently carve out small gains with congested looks
  • Has the vision to quickly identify and utilize A-gap openings with his speed
  • Full-field vision allows him to sear across diagonal lanes and cut chunks out of defenses
  • Efficiently uses space behind blocks and can levy stiff arms to pry past threats
  • Wiry strength for his size and can grate through arm tackles with leg churn
  • Willing to lower his shoulder and finish forward, using his power-charged lower body
  • Quality receiving threat with a functional route tree and good hand-catching ability
  • Able to seamlessly gather passes as a backfield RAC threat and turn corners with speed
  • Alert pass-blocker, who keeps his eyes up, stays square to gaps, and uses active hands

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t have the high-end mass to routinely bowl through tacklers and finish forward
  • Built a little high-cut and doesn’t quite have elite lateral freedom and one-cut elusiveness
  • Patience can be a double-edged sword at times, inducing pauses out of exchanges
  • Can be prone to hesitation when lanes aren’t clean and can commit sooner at times
  • Can be a little late to recognize linebackers surging into front-side gaps
  • Processing out of exchanges is not elite, as open cutback lanes can go overlooked
  • Can still be more consistent in controlling his speed initially to maximize space
  • Could be more efficient and proactive with his exchange footwork to set up advances
  • Sometimes defers to congestion when he has space to adapt outside with his speed
  • Can be late to pivot to the B-gap after using his agility to bait LBs behind the A-gap
  • Experiences occasional lapses in ball security trying to press forward in space
  • Can be prone to drops when attempting to corral RAC passes on swing routes

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Wright grades out as a top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft on my board. He’s one of the top RB prospects in the class and could be an immediate spark plug for an offense in need of a change-of-pace back with deadly speed and three-down utility.

Being a younger player, there are still areas of his game where Wright can attain greater consistency. Most notably, his exchange footwork and processing behind the line of scrimmage could use some work.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft RB Rankings

While Wright has good baseline vision, patience, and creative instincts, he does miss open cutback lanes at times by pressing too far upfield. He can also be more controlled and efficient at using his speed and agility to manipulate LBs and clear open lanes for himself.


Beyond that, Wright doesn’t have elite mass at 5’11”, 210 pounds, and he’s also not an elite proven receiving threat — but he’s good in just about every area. He’s an explosive, energetic runner with great hip flexibility, targeted physicality, and grating contact balance. Plus, he’s a hyper-elite speed threat who makes deadly use of narrow creases.

Add in the fact that Wright is just 21 years old, has a lot of tread left on his tires, has unearthed receiving upside, and is a stellar pass-blocker with protection utility on day one, and there isn’t much stopping him from being a great Day 2 selection.

Wright may face a learning curve early on in the NFL while he seeks to fine-tune his creative efficiency and further improve his vision, but his baseline utility and game-breaking speed make him an exciting, scheme-diverse, change-of-pace back on Day 1.

The Tennessee product can be relied upon on third downs with his pass blocking, and he has the necessary size and play strength to take on greater volume down the road with a ceiling as an impact starter.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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