As things stand right now, the Green Bay Packers will have the 15th pick in this year’s NFL draft. They have plenty of holes to fill, with the need for depth most evident at wide receiver, safety, as well as tight end. There’s also significant pressure to add some depth at quarterback in case backup Jordan Love is not able to fill the spot soon to be left behind by veteran Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who should be traded over to the New York Jets any day now.
It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if the Packers drafted with any of those positions in mind on NFL draft day, April 27.
What would be surprising, though, is if they simply drafted the best available player, regardless of position or of the team’s specific needs.
Come pick no. 15, that best available player could very well be University of Tennessee offensive tackle, Darnell Wright.
The 21-year-old Wright is a former top recruit native of West Virginia who can play at both left and right tackle. Last season, his performance has been described as dominant, not allowing a single sack all season and permitting only single-digit pressures. His highlight reel performance against Alabama, where he nullified the prodigious pass rush of projected top-5 draft pick Will Anderson Jr. was seen as confirmation of his NFL readiness. As a matter of fact, Anderson went so far as to declare Wright the best offensive tackle he’s faced in college.
Wright has also impressed with his overall athleticism and field maturity. Projections have him ready to start in the league from day one. Players able to immediately step into the league and become impact players are exceedingly rare. The move to draft him would make sense for a team like the Packers in partial rebuild mode, but who also feel they could legitimately compete for a divisional title.
The highly-regarded prospect has already met with the Packers on a Top 30 visit, but is reportedly being courted by as many as 20 other teams.
Still, drafting Wright in the first round would be a bold move, especially since the team already has an elite-lever starter there in David Bakhtiari and other, more pressing, holes to fill on the roster. At 32 years of age, though, Bakhtiari is approaching the down side of his prime and the Packers have always reveled in their philosophy of preferring to replace players a year too early than a year too late.
Another factor in all of this is whether Wright will even still be available when the 15th pick comes around.