Dolphins trade into fourth round to select speedy Tennessee running back Wright

Seemingly already set at running back, the Dolphins threw a curveball on the third day of the NFL Draft on Saturday, trading into the fourth round to select Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright.

Miami - which entered the day without a fourth round pick - relinquished a 2025 third-round pick to Philadelphia in order to acquire the 120th overall pick on Saturday, which was used on Wright.

Wright averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 137 rushing attempts last season, closing with 1013 yards rushing and 141 yards in receptions on 22 catches.

That 7.4 rushing average was second in FBS last season.

He averaged 6.2 yards per carry on 368 career rushing attempts in three seasons at Tennessee, with 18 touchdowns rushing. And he caught 30 passes for 171 in 34 games at Tennessee.

He has blazing speed, with a 4.38 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. So in that regard, he fits right in with the NFL’s fastest offense. He said he was timed as quickly as a 4.36 in the 40, when he was training for the Combine.

He also said he has run as fast as 23.7 miles per hour when he had access to a tracking device. As perspective, the fastest recorded NFL play last season was a 22.3 mph catch and run by Seattle’s DK Metcalf.

Pro Football Focus had Wright as the 68th best player on its draft board, and he went 120th.

“Jalen Wright has burst, the frame at 5-10, 210 pounds, leg drive, balance, breaks contact, slippery, contact balance outstanding,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper said.

“Patient runner. Talk about hitting home runs. Fifty two yard run against Kentucky, 82 yard run against Connecticut, 75 yard run against George and a 42 yard run against USC. He gets a little crack, he is gone.”

The Dolphins already seemed set with their top three running backs, with Raheem Mostert, DeVon Achane and Jeff Wilson, and Salvon Ahmed and Chris Brooks in reserve.

Now, the roster spots of Ahmed and Brooks are at risk, and Wilson could be surpassed on the depth chart after agreeing to a pay cut this offseason.

Wright said he had a pre-draft ‘30’ visit at Dolphins headquarters. “Best visit I had,” Wright said, adding he will “add another explosive element to the offense.

“It’s really going to be scary. I’ve got a lot of fire built in me. I want to prove my point, make people who passed on me to feel me, want to make a lot of plays.”

His father nicknamed him Cheetah many years ago.

“We already have a Cheetah on the Dolphins [Tyreek Hill],” he said. “I’ve going to let him have Cheetah. That’s his thing.”

Wright said he’s OK with “lightning” or “flash” as his new nickname. He said others call him “J-Wright.”

Wright said he’s “comfortable” catching passes. “I know I can make big plays in the passing game or the running game.”

Wright said Mike McDaniel indicated to him that he “likes my skill set, feels it will fit in the offense, that I can make explosive plays in the offense. I agree.”

He said that at Tennessee, wide receivers helped space the field, creating creases for running backs. “It’s going to be the same here in Miami,” he said.

He said he can run around or through defenders. “I have no limitations to my game,” he said.

He graded out well in pass protection at Tennessee. “I take pride in protecting my QB,” he said. “I feel like pass protection is a mentality thing and I want to stone defenders.”’s Lance Zierlein said of Wright: “Explosive back with good size and breakaway speed. Wright’s running style is more linear than free-flowing, which limits his cut smoothness and elusiveness on the second level. His vision and aggression as an interior runner are just average, but that won’t stop him from putting yards on the stat sheet.

“He regularly bounced runs wide and beat the pursuit around the corner, so a move to a stretch-based running attack would be a natural fit, allowing his speed to shine. He’s capable of running with power, but he will default into finesse at times. Wright’s big-play potential and talent as a pass catcher should make him a Day 2 target as a future starter.”

Achane and Wright rank 13th and 24th, respectively, all-time in yards per carry average in Southeastern Conference football history, dating to 1956.

Wright has never met Achane but said “he’s a great running back, fast, elusive, a great guy to learn from.”

Keep in mind that the Dolphins likely will get two third-round compensatory picks in the April 2025 draft as a result of free agent losses this offseason, per

So the third-round 2025 pick that Miami traded to Philadelphia for Wright essentially can be replaced by the two compensatory picks in the third round next April.

The Dolphins have four remaining picks in the draft: one fifth-rounder, two sixth-rounders and one seventh-rounder.