Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell are two of the most prestigious players on Oregon’s defense. Still, Oregon CB and NFL Draft prospect Mykael Wright also contributed to one of the best defenses in the nation. What does Wright bring to the table, and can his scouting report find a place among some of the highest-rated cornerbacks in the 2022 cycle?
Mykael Wright NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Oregon
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 182 pounds
Mykael Wright Scouting Report
The Oregon secondary produced four NFL Draft picks in the 2021 cycle. Deommodore Lenoir, Thomas Graham Jr., and Brady Breeze all went on Day 3. Meanwhile, star safety Jevon Holland was selected by the Miami Dolphins in Round 2. All this talent, but could Wright be better than all of them?
That’s what some of the former Ducks defensive backs were saying, at least. That Wright — the team’s pass deflection leader from 2020 — has the tools to ascend above them all. In the words of Lenoir himself when talking to Pro Football Network’s Cam Mellor regarding Wright: “He’s gonna be a dawg this season.”
The 2021 campaign didn’t quite elevate Wright to that level, but nevertheless, he still has tools that shouldn’t be slept on this draft cycle. What does Wright bring to the table, and how high can he go in April?
Mykael Wright’s athletic profile
At 5’11”, 182 pounds, Wright isn’t the most imposing physical specimen. Nevertheless, he has a strong athletic profile — one which underpins his style on the field. Wright exudes energy in all phases, even when he’s not in active pursuit. The Oregon CB has impressive lateral twitch, with which he can adjust his tackling angles quickly. Wright also brings great suddenness and recovery athleticism, and he can easily stack direction changes.
In addition to his short-area traits, Wright has fairly fluid hips, as well as intense explosiveness out of direction changes. He flashes smooth, patient footwork when anticipating releases, and he easily sinks his hips when diverting course. Furthermore, Wright brings superb long speed. With his explosiveness and long speed, he can match receivers at the line and stick to them down the field.
Among other things, Wright has good proportional length for his size. His length isn’t elite, and is closer to average overall, but he has enough to be disruptive. His acceptable length also helps in tackling situations where he has the requisite closing burst and reach to wrap up opponents.
Execution beyond the physical traits
On top of his athleticism, one of the most appealing parts of Wright’s NFL Draft scouting report might be his play style. The Oregon CB is a fiery competitor who regularly gets chippy with his opponents. He’s not shy about being physical, even against larger receivers. He plays bigger than his size and uses the full extent of his traits.
Going further, Wright has shown he can tie his traits together and convert at the catch point. He has impressive ball skills, as he’s able to time extensions and contortions with vertical leaps. His flashes of timing and coordination at the catch point are outstanding, and they allude to playmaking potential at the NFL level.
Wright’s all-out disposition earns him fans, but he is still fairly careful and aware. He knows how to adapt when misdirections change the play’s outlook, and he flashes eye discipline and quick reaction ability. Additionally, Wright stands his ground in run support. While he doesn’t have the strongest frame, he still seeks to contribute.
Areas for improvement
As exciting as Wright can be at times, there are some drawbacks to take note of on his NFL Draft scouting report. Wright’s frame is noticeably slight, and as mentioned earlier, his proportional length — while solid — is not elite.
Wright’s lack of frame density can impact his ability to dismantle blocks. By the same virtue, Wright doesn’t always have the strength to pry passes from the cage during the catch process. These physical limitations sometimes induce him to get too grabby in contested situations. He’s a bit unrefined using his physicality, and this can result in flags. He can also be more consistent getting his eyes around and tracking the ball.
Concurrently, Wright can also further refine his efficiency of motion, as he can be a bit uncoordinated on the ground. His feet are sometimes less active in off-man coverage, and he can get off-balance when mirroring receiver releases at the line. The Oregon product sometimes rounds off his direction changes, and some of his motion is wasted at times. He can over-commit one way, and lurch when receivers break away from him.
Moreover, Wright tends to turn his hips upfield by default, leaving him susceptible to in-breaking routes. He sometimes shows indecision in two-on-one situations. This can lead to opportunities for the offense as well.
Mykael Wright’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Wright has a lot of the foundational traits you search for in cornerbacks. He’s explosive, fast, reasonably fluid, and aggressive. He doesn’t quite have the elite reach or frame density that other cornerbacks have, but he makes up for it with his physicality, breadth, and closing burst.
Just as Wright’s strengths are easy to see, however, so are his weaknesses. He can be over-zealous and get himself into trouble. He can also further improve his efficiency of motion and shore up his coordination at the catch point. Additionally, he’ll need to add more weight to his frame, as that may be a red flag for NFL teams. His 2021 season didn’t do enough to quell the concerns regarding his scouting report.
Nevertheless, Wright has already shown impressive flashes of natural talent and mental fortitude. Even though he remains an incomplete prospect heading into the NFL Draft, the talent is there. With inconsistent eyes and instincts in zone, he may be best in man-heavy schemes, where he can keep his eyes forward, and use his athleticism to mirror receivers. But with his explosiveness, he does have potential in zone if he can put things together.
Mykael Wright’s Player Profile
Wright’s pro potential was visible early — as far back as his sophomore year of high school. A former wide receiver, Wright quickly established a penchant for making plays on the ball. After generating 55 receptions for 1,317 yards and 18 scores in his junior year, along with 2 interceptions, Wright transferred to Antelope Valley High School. There, he solidified the profile of a budding star.
Wright wasn’t quite a five-star recruit in the 2019 class. Rather, he was the next best thing. Although Wright was a four-star, he was ranked 25th overall in the class on ESPN’s board. He was behind only Derek Stingley Jr. at the cornerback position and Kayvon Thibodeaux in the state of California.
Schools lined up to secure Wright’s services. At the time, he had a 4.48 40-yard dash and a 34-inch vertical on record. Alabama, Florida, USC, and Texas all made offers, but Wright chose to stay on the West Coast, signing with Oregon.
Mykael Wright’s career at Oregon and NFL Draft ascension
The Ducks immediately found a role for Wright at Oregon. In addition to logging an interception and 4 deflections in a rotational defensive role, Wright flourished as a kick returner in his true freshman season. He returned 10 kicks for 380 yards and 2 scores, becoming just the third Ducks player in school history to score twice on kickoffs in a single season.
Wright maintained his special-teams role in 2020, but his value on defense may soon take precedence. This past year, the Oregon CB emerged as a top-end playmaker, putting up 9 pass deflections and 27 tackles in a seven-game campaign. For his play, Wright earned universal first-team All-Pac-12 recognition. He also landed on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list ahead of 2021.
2021 wasn’t quite as bountiful for Wright, but he still flashed promise. The Oregon CB logged a career-high 65 tackles along with 4 tackles for loss. He also tacked on an interception and 4 deflections, as well as a forced fumble.
Wright showed promising strides as a tackler, better adjusting his angles in pursuit in 2021. But he’s still rough around the edges as a coverage defender. The potential is there, but in a strong cornerback class, Wright could slip to the middle rounds. With his explosiveness, speed, and tenacity, however, he could be an eventual starter for man-heavy schemes.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Mykael Wright
Positives: Feisty, aggressive cornerback who does not back down from a challenge and physically beats down opponents to defend throws. Jams receivers at the line of scrimmage, displays a burst to the ball out of his plant, and works to get a hand in to defend passes. Gives effort defending the run and throws his body around the field. Previously showed a lot of ability returning kicks.
Negatives: Late transitioning off the line, not smooth flipping his hips, and lacks balance. Rarely gets his head back around and does a lot of face-guarding. Unpolished, loses a sense of what’s happening on the field, and struggles recognizing assignments in zone.
Analysis: Wright is a confident cornerback who does a lot of barking on the field, yet the reputation does not meet the reality. He’s an average athlete with an unpolished game who struggles in man and zone coverage. Graded by many as a potential first-round prospect coming into the season, I view Wright as a last-day pick who is best suited for dime packages.