Dolphins Draft Pick Jaylen Wright Deep Dive

April 30, 2024

What film study reveals about Miami Dolphins fourth-round pick Jaylen Wright, where he shines, where he needs work and what his potential role might be as a rookie

Miami Dolphins Fourth-Round Pick Jaylen Wright

The 2024 NFL draft is over, and the Miami Dolphins are hoping their seven-player class can help them take that next step and get over the hump in the playoffs.

Miami’s draft featured a first-round pick for the first time since 2021, a second-round pick and five picks on Day 3, including a trade to get them back into the fourth round.

Today, our series of film reviews on the 2024 draft class features Jaylen Wright, who the Dolphins selected No. 120 overall after acquiring the pick from the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2025 third-round selection.

Wright led Tennessee in rushing the past two seasons. He started in all 12 games this past season, recording career bests in rushing yards (1,013), yards per attempt (7.39) and yards per game (84.4) on 137 carries.

Will Wright get on the field early in Miami’s crowded running back room? Let’s dive in and see what the film tells us.

Jaylen Wright’s Speed

Mike McDaniel’s love for speed trumps almost everything regarding how Miami builds its offense. With that in mind, it’s not too surprising the Dolphins traded up for the draft’s fastest running back, Jaylen Wright.

Wright’s breakaway speed on tape is wildly impressive. He’s capable of breaking tackle angles at all three levels of the field and housing any run if given enough daylight. Wright backed up his tape speed with an impressive NFL combine performance.

He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash (95th percentile), broad-jumped 134 inches (98th percentile) and vertical-jumped 38 inches (86th percentile). Wright is fast, but he’s also just an all-around solid athlete.

Wright’s modest 10-yard split is interesting because it shows how his speed will translate. His 1.55-second split is good for the 62nd percentile, which isn’t bad, but it’s not elite like his other scores.

Wright takes a second or two to get going. He’s not a “sudden” mover by any means and needs some runway to reach his top speed. When teams got backfield penetration early in reps, Wright struggled to recalibrate and reach his top speed.

For reference, De’Von Achane logged an 86th-percentile 10-yard split last season. Achane is much better at re-accelerating than someone like Wright. It’s a small detail, but it matters when projecting how Wright will generate yards consistently.

Not everything will be a big play in the NFL, so Wright will have to pick his way through defenses more often than not. However, no team better utilizes speed than the Dolphins, making this the perfect landing spot for Wright.

Wright’s Pass Blocking and Receiving

Everyone will talk about Wright’s speed, but his pass blocking might be what gets him on the field in Year 1. By our estimation, Wright was the best pass-blocking back in the 2024 class.

Wright has a few physical advantages that help him in this area. His 75 ⅞ wingspan ranks in the 74th percentile for running backs, and it’s easy to see him use it on film when pass blocking.

He does an excellent job meeting defenders in the hole with some power and good technique. He works his hands inside the chest plate and extends his arms to the defender from just bowling him over.

Wright knows his assignments well, too. He steps up to meet blitzers with haste, not hesitating to deliver some blows of his own at the point of contact. Wright is an incredibly impressive player in this area for a running back.

This is the strong start of a potential third-down running back, someone who could provide more value than Achane or Raheem Mostert in obvious passing situations.

The issue is Wright’s lack of experience catching the football. Wright only had 28 career catches at Tennessee, and he’s not an experienced route runner by any stretch.

He looks relatively comfortable catching screens, swings, and dump-offs, but Achane is a much better receiving option at this stage. It’s hard to imagine Wright taking those reps from Achane in Year 1.

Jaylen Wright’s Vision

Vision is one of the most essential traits for a running back, and Wright’s is good enough to survive in the NFL.

He’s at his best when he can flow freely to the play side and then put his foot in the ground and explode upfield. He’s incredibly similar to Mostert in that way. When things go awry, Wright is a little less polished.

He found a few creative holes at the second level but doesn’t see cut-back lanes all that well early in reps. If his initial plan is cut off, he won’t make something happen on his own unless he has a head of steam to work with.

Overall, Wright’s vision is just OK at this stage. He follows his blocks well enough, shows adequate patience and a willingness to take what the defense gives him.

The big hangup is how little resistance he was met with at Tennessee. Only 2.9 percent of Wright’s runs came with eight or more defenders in the box. The Vols run a unique offense with huge wide receiver splits.

This pulls defenders out of the box, leaving easily available rushing lanes for whoever is carrying the ball. There are reps on Wright’s film where he’s running against just five defenders in the box.

That won’t happen in the NFL. Wright got a lot of easy yards that way in college, and although Miami is better than most at forcing teams into light boxes, it will be harder for him next season.

Wright will have to improve his vision next season if he’s going to stick as anything more than a situational back with plus speed and good pass blocking.

The Bottom Line on Jaylen Wright

Wright fits Miami’s prototype at running back to a T. He fills the Dolphins’ unrelenting need for speed, but he’s also a one-cut-back, something he has in common with Achane, Mostert, and even Jeff Wilson.

The one thing Wright does differently than those players is pass blocking. Besides his elite speed, it’s probably his best skill right now. There’s an argument that will get him on the field before his speed does.

Miami drafted a good player who fits its scheme and prototype, so what’s the problem? Well, Wright is a little redundant of all Miami’s other backs. That’s the downside of never straying from your prototypes.

As runners, Wright is firmly behind Achane and Mostert. Mostert is more experienced and has much better vision. Achane is faster, has better contact balance, has more experience and is a better pass catcher.

The only thing that separates Wright from his peers is his pass blocking. That’s a valuable trait for sure, but trading into the fourth round for that seems a little rich. Finding reps for Wright in 2024 is challenging, barring injuries.

To be fair, Achane spent a good portion of last season injured, and Mostert has his own injury history to deal with.

It boils down to the same conversation we had about Miami’s top picks, Chop Robinson and Patrick Paul. Like them, Wright is a player who might have been picked with 2025 in mind.

The Dolphins recently extended Mostert, but he has an out in 2025.

If the Dolphins are committed to having multiple speed threats in rotation, moving on from Mostert and pairing Wright with Achane is a reasonable solution.

Wright is a fourth-round pick, so if he ends up being the team’s RB2 and produces well enough, it’s hard to argue that value. It’s just probably not wise to expect too much from him in 2024.