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Fast Facts: Jaylen Wright

When General Manager Chris Grier and Head Coach Mike McDaniel identify a fit for the roster, they are not shy about aggressively pursuing that player. When Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright was on the board with the 120th pick, the Dolphins' brass dipped into the 2025 stockpile of picks in exchange for Wright, who will swap volunteer orange for the aqua and orange of Florida's oldest professional football team.

Here are the fast facts on the powerful, speedy, shifty back who averaged 7.4 yards per carry during his last college season:

  1. Explosive and efficient

Explosive and efficient are two of the most important traits for a running back. Jaylen Wright just celebrated his 21st birthday and has less than 400 college touches on his odometer (398 total). That's all it took for him to post video game-like statistics in the Volunteers backfield.

Wright rushed for 1,013 yards on 136 carries in 2023 – good for 7.4 yards per rush. He added 22 receptions for 141 yards with four total touchdowns. The advanced metrics tell the story of how Wright was able to do so much with such a limited workload.

Per Pro Football Focus, Wright averaged 4.35 yards per carry after initial contact. He slipped 43 tackles and totaled 592 yards after evading the first defender. That, at 210 pounds isn't a big surprise, but where he really garners attention is the 19 rushes of 15-plus yards. Only 15 backs in the country had more explosive plays in the run game, and none of them did it with less than 150 rushing attempts like Wright.

  1. The need for speed

When the Dolphins acquire a player on offense, it's a safe bet that the player can run. Wright showed that on the first play of the game against the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs when he outran two draft picks (cornerback Kamari Lassiter, 42nd overall and safety Javon Bullard, 58th overall) to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown.

Wright showed that athleticism at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine. With a 4.38 40-yard dash and the second longest broad job of any back in Combine history, Wright concluded his workout ranked with the 44th all-time relative athletic scorecard among running backs.

  1. Third down, no problem

The obstacle preventing rookie running backs from seeing the field early is frequently the learning curve in pass protection. Luckily for the Dolphins, while at the University of Tennessee, that was the area Wright shined perhaps brightest.

Last season, Wright was called upon for 58 pass protection assignments and didn't allow a sack. He was charged with three total pressures and just one quarterback hit. The 11-2 broad jump shows not just in his explosive jump cuts, but how he generates force from the ground to lay into rushers, stopping them in their tracks.

  1. Scheme diverse

According to PFF, Wright's 136 rushing attempts spanned a variety of styles and targeted multiple gaps effectively. He ran the ball behind zone blocking 50 times and behind a man scheme 86 times. On runs between the center and guard (A gaps), Wright rushed for 498 yards. On runs wide of the formation (outside the tight end) he posted 196 yards. He also had 118 yards in the B gaps (guard and tackle) and 198 yards in the C gaps (tackle and tight end).

"My time in Knoxville, we had receivers to space out the field," Wright said. "That's just something that the Dolphins do really well, just space out the field and get defenses to get out of Cover 1 and Cover 3. Get defenses to play Cover 2 and Cover 4, that's just going to break bigger opportunities for the running backs, bigger explosive plays."

  1. Dream realized

"I had a 30-visit with Miami. I met the whole staff, it was cool," Wright said. "That was the team I really wanted to go to, which is crazy. It was the best visit I had."

A theme is developing between the walls at the Baptist Health Training Complex. Rookie tackle Patrick Paul's desire to be drafted by Miami had him crawling out of his skin on Friday. Less than 24 hours later, Wright landed in his preferred destination.

"Our whole point has been trying to create some place that is a winning culture, winning environment that players want to come to play and win and be developed," General Manager Chris Grier said.

For more on Jaylen Wright, and the entire 2024 Dolphins draft class, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.

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