Bears Draft Target: Darnell Wright
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Bears Draft Target: Darnell Wright


by - Senior Writer -

The NFL draft is only three weeks away, and things are starting to get exciting at Halas Hall. Although the team is coming off a terrible season in 2022, given the moves they made in free agency, the trade they made to get DJ Moore, and now holding the No. 9 pick, there is more excitement surrounding Chicago than there has been in years.

Whether or not the Bears keep that pick remains a mystery, as there are still rumors out there that the Bears plan on trading that No. 9 pick. I don't see that happening anymore, especially when you look at the needs of this team. Whoever the Bears take at No. 9, you can bet they have the potential to be a star, but experts appear very divided on whom the Bears will take.

When you talk to those close to the Bears, all of them expect the Bears to address the offensive line or defensive line in the first round. When you look at the talent available at these positions, you can see why the Bears will target one of these two spots, as those are two of the most significant areas of need. It seems more likely that the Bears will go offensive line in the first round and use that to protect Justin Fields.

If that is the case, Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson would be the top selections for Bears fans, as those are the top two OL in this year's class. However, both of them are expected to get taken in the 5-10 range and may not fall to the Bears at No. 9. Should that happen, look for former Tennessee OT Darnell Wright to be an option at No. 9 as he hasn't been talked about enough.

Two years ago, drafting an OT in this spot didn't seem like an option, especially after landing Teven Jenkins. However, Jenkins moved to Guard last season and played exceptionally well in that spot. Pushing him back to tackle would not only do a disservice to him, but it could hurt the Bears offensive line more than help it. That is where Wright comes into play, and although it would be a surprise to take him here, it does make sense.

Not only was Wright a four-year starter with the Volunteers, but he saw time at both tackle positions showing his versatility on the field. What stands out the most is that he nearly went his final two seasons without allowing a sack spanning 19 consecutive games. Anytime you can prevent your QB from getting sacked over a 19-game period, it is worth noting, which is something Wright has done better than most.

Wright has always been a reliable pass-blocker and is one of the biggest sleepers in this year's draft class. However, one reason that has prevented him from skyrocketing up the boards, as you may think, falls on the run blocking. As good as he has been in pass protection, his run blocking is a work in progress and will need to be addressed if the Bears take him.

The Luke Getsy offense is a run-first system that thrives on Zone-run blocking players. Wright may or may not be that guy, but he offers something the Bears offensive line hasn't had in years. Don't get me wrong, having a tremendous run-blocking team is critical, but you need to protect your QB if you want to have the success you are hoping for.

This offense led the NFL in rushing a season ago, but ranked dead last in passing. Part of that was the inability to consistently protect Fields, which often had him running for his life. Wright is someone that could come in and protect Fields. Sometimes all it takes is for one addition like that to make a difference, and the Bears will think about that.

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