Bears hit a home run on Darnell Wright
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Bears hit a home run on Darnell Wright

by - Senior Writer -

As the first round of the 2023 NFL draft unfolded, the Chicago Bears had to love their position. Not only were the three best offensive linemen still sitting there, but so was arguably the best player in the draft Jalen Carter.

Carter was a player the Bears scouted a ton over the past few months. Most experts felt that the Bears would make him their first-round selection should he fall to No.9. Not only did he fall to nine, but the Bears had a chance to draft him only to trade back from the No. 9 pick which was another prediction that many had for this team.

Instead of trading back into the teen or 20s range of picks, the Bears moved back one spot and swapped picks with Philadelphia. That worked out in the Eagles favor as they were the ones that took Carter at No. 9, forcing the Bears to alter their draft plans for pick 10. However, did they change their plans, or was the plan all along to go with offensive linemen first?

Given what this team has done this offseason when it comes to adding more weapons around Justin Fields, they still need to keep their franchise QB upright, which starts with adding quality players up front.

Selecting Darnell Wright with the 10th overall pick is undoubtedly the way to go about that, as the former Tennessee Volunteers offensive lineman is the newest Chicago Bear.

If you are among the many hoping for the Bears to draft an offensive lineman, congrats, as Wright may be the best in this year's class. Standing at 6-5 and checking in 333 pounds, Wright is a massive human who isn't easy to push out of the way on the offensive line.

Given the Bear's current need for a right tackle, Wright is the guy Ryan Poles will go with, as he is expected to come in and start right away at the right tackle position. Throughout the draft process, Wright was talked about as a first-round pick, but it wasn't until the past few weeks that you started to hear his name in connection with the Bears. Considering how poorly the Bears kept their need for an offensive lineman secret, you can understand why Wright was linked to this team for as long as he was.

When you come from the SEC, the best college football conference, you will be tested on your protection skills. Remember that plenty of SEC players land in the NFL, so Wright was facing the best of the best every Saturday. Despite that, he showed up in a big way and only allowed one sack across his final two seasons in Knoxville which is an impressive feat.

Wright was a top-10 overall recruit in the 2019 class and a first-team USA Today All-American as a senior at Huntington High School in West Virginia. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2019, starting in seven games (five at right tackle, two at right guard) while playing in 11 contests. Wright started nine of 10 appearances at right tackle as a sophomore and then switched to left tackle for 2021, starting all 13 games. He returned to the right side for his senior year, earning first-team All-SEC honors for his play in 13 starts.

Not only is Wright a big-bodied tackle, but he is an athletic tackle who used some of his limitations to transform himself into one of the better prospects in this year's draft. He plays aggressively and is light on his feet, leading to several pancake-style blocks. While he was often a positional blocker at Tennessee, he’s a very talented drive blocker when allowed to fire out, and that will prove beneficial in both the run and the pass in Chicago.

With his physical tools, Wright has some of the best arm lengths among offensive linemen, which helps him neutralize speed rushers against him. That length, mixed with his foot speed, allows him to displace his defenders and move across the line to clear holes for the offense. At this stage of his career, Wright is a much better run blocker than a pass blocker, but not by much.

Chicago hit a home run with this pick as Poles continues to do an impressive job retooling the roster this offseason.

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