Our 2015 NFL Draft profile continues with a look at Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright. With the Detroit Lions needing another defensive tackle, the team can go after one in any round in the draft. While most mock drafts have the Lions selecting one in the first, I feel as if the Lions will buck the trend and take one later in the draft. Wright could be that guy given that he is expected to be a 3rd or 4th round pick.
Gabe Wright was a rotational defensive tackle at Auburn. He was never good enough to lock up a starting spot which is a concern for NFL scouts. Still though, some predict that because the NFL focuses more on the pass than the rush that he may be a better professional football player than he was a college player. Wright has a lot of qualities that make him a decent prospect, most of which are likely the reason he is slated to go so high in the draft.
Some of Gabe Wright‘s strengths are his explosive first step, his low pad level, and his ability to fight through double teams. He is better as a pass rusher than a run stopper and shows decent moves in his pass rush. He played in the competitive SEC which means he faced top competition every week. His strength and hand size are definite pluses for him as he will need both to shed blockers at the next level.
Wright’s weaknesses may be more of a concern than his slated draft position may be worth. He does not play with consistent power. He is not very good against the run, failing to get off blockers and track the ball carrier. He over pursues plays and does not have a very consistent motor.
Below are Gabe Wright‘s combine numbers. These should show a little bit of his strengths and weaknesses that will be covered next:
|40 Yard Dash
||20 yard shuttle
While these numbers may not mean much at first glance, other than the bench press reps, they show a disappointing sign to Wright that may get overlooked. According to mockdraftable.com his broad jump measurements are in the 18th percentile among defensive tackles. His vertical jump measurements are in the 14th percentile among defensive tackles. Most fans are probably wondering why that matters. Quite simply, for linemen, the broad jump and vertical jump measure explosiveness in the legs. That explosiveness allows them to get off the ball quickly. Looking back at other good pass rushing defensive tackles like Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Aaron Donald, etc. the common theme was that these guys posted a very high broad jump or vertical jump by comparison to other defensive tackles in their draft class.
The big question that comes in at this point is whether or not he would fit with the Detroit Lions. The Lions implemented an aggressive front four last season, and Wright would have fit in well in that rotation. Wright is a great fit for a penetrating 4-3 defense. With the loss of Suh and Nick Fairley who were both 300 pounders, and the addition of Haloti Ngata who is closer to 330, the Lions may not be implementing the same aggressive front four they have been, even though coach Jim Caldwell stated that the defense would not look any different scheme wise without Suh and with Ngata. Overall, while Wright seems like a logical fit to the Detroit defensive line, his poor showing in the broad jump and vertical bring concerns about his effectiveness as a pass rusher which may make the team pass on him.