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Matt Miller Projecting Back-to-Back NFL First Round Picks from Tennessee

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Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt projects as a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics.

The Senior Bowl is now in the rearview mirror as a handful of former Tennessee players gear up for the 2023 NFL Draft in April.

One standout from the Senior Bowl, offensive tackle Darnell Wright, received some high praise from Jim Nagy, the director of the week-long event.

“Darnell Wright, I had an offensive line scout that’s an offensive lineman that’s actually in the Hall of Fame and he came up and was like ‘Darnell Wright has made some money today,’” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said on the Kayla, Ramon and Will show on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone.

It looks like Wright’s productive week in the Senior Bowl has boosted him up to a favorable position in one NFL mock from Monday.

ESPN’s Matt Miller has revealed his latest mock draft to start the week, which featured back-to-back first-round draft picks from Tennessee – including Wright.

Miller’s mock draft has Darnell Wright as the first Volunteer off the board at No. 24 overall to the reigning AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars.

“The 6-5, 342-pound tackle just turned in a fantastic Senior Bowl performance, showing great power, length, quickness and balance for his size,” Miller wrote. “He’s a plug-and-play starter on the right side. Wright allowed only one sack this season, and he didn’t have a single blown run block.”

In layman’s terms… Wright is an unmistakable monster on the line.

Darnell Wright
Tennessee OL Darnell Wright. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.
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One pick later, though, Miller has another Volunteer going off the board.

Miller has 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt going at No. 25 overall to the New York Football Giants. Only two players on the Giants caught more than 50 receptions last season… and one of those players was running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants are in desperate need of a player that can stretch the field, and Hyatt may just be that.

During the course of the 2022 football season, Hyatt caught 67 passes for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“He is a certified deep threat, with one area scout telling me at the Senior Bowl that he’ll likely run in the low-4.3-second range in the 40-yard dash,” Miller wrote in his ESPN mock draft. “The Giants are desperate for a receiver who can stretch the field and be Jones’ version of Stefon Diggs, whom coach Brian Daboll used so well while in Buffalo. Hyatt has the vertical speed to fit that role.”

Tennessee has not had a first-round draft pick since the 2017 NFL Draft when Derek Barnett went at No. 14 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Volunteers have not had multiple first-round draft picks since the 2010 NFL Draft when Eric Berry and Dan Williams jumped into the league at No. 5 and No. 26 respectively.

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