ESPN’s Matt Miller Calls Darnell Wright To Steelers A Draft Pick That ‘Has To Happen’

In an ideal draft scenario, at No. 17 overall the Pittsburgh Steelers will select…Tennessee offensive lineman Darnell Wright.

At least, that’s what ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller wants to see.

In a piece Friday morning for ESPN, Miller highlighted Wright to the Steelers at No. 17 overall as a draft pick that simply “has to happen” in the first round next week in Kansas City.

“The Steelers haven’t invested early-round picks in the offensive line and it’s showing. Right tackle is at the top of my needs list for them,” Miller writes. “Tennessee’s Wright, the best right tackle in the class, fits Pittsburgh perfectly with his toughness in the run game and mobility to protect the quarterback in passing situations.”

Wright has been connected to the Steelers as a potential first-round draft pick. He’s that big-bodied player the Steelers have been looking for at tackle in recent seasons, and the Steelers have certainly shown interest in him throughout the pre-draft process. Whether he’d be a right or left tackle in Pittsburgh is the question, but he’d be a good fit in the Black and Gold on either side, though his best work at Tennessee came at right tackle the last two seasons.

Alex Kozora recently uncovered that Steelers assistant GM Andy Weidl was at Tennessee’s Pro Day, which makes Wright more of a first-round possibility for the Steelers.

According to previous reporting from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Steelers could view Wright as a guard, though the recent moves in free agency with the additions of guards Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig, pairing with incumbent starter James Daniels, could change that line of thinking some.

Here’s what Steelers Depot’s own Chandler Stroud wrote about Wright in his draft profile for the site in January:

“Darnell Wright’s game has such a low floor, but it feels initially that his game has an incredibly high ceiling as well. He won in different ways against opponents in different games, but his execution is going to have to become much more consistent. Lunging at defenders was something that hindered him slightly and against the faster rushers of the world like TJ Watt, that simply won’t do. He must learn to play faster, simply put. However, he has great strength that showed up in a multitude of ways. He isn’t going to throw guys out of the club consistently, but one glaring thing about his game is the guy knows where the ball is going, and he knows how to get himself between defenders and the ball carrier.

“Physically he reminds me a lot of a guy like Trent Brown. A very long tall heavy tackle with massive limbs who’s going to learn to finish guys at the next level. Football is also a game of production and if he can get to a point where he’s holding top-tier guys like Will Anderson to three tackles a game and no sacks, that’s going to be enough to not only allow him to see more than one contract in this league but thrive and I think he could potentially become an average starter in the league at his position.”

There is certainly a lot to like with Wright as a prospect. His tape against Alabama and star pass rusher Will Anderson last season is some of the best tape on the offensive line in the class. It’s a remarkable watch.

Should he be the selection for the Steelers at No. 17 overall, it would be a continuation of a rebuild in the trenches the last two seasons with the Steelers investing in Daniels and Mason Cole last year in free agency, and then adding Seumalo and Herbig this offseason to shore up the interior of the offensive line.

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