And just like that, the Chicago Bears finished their facelift of the offensive line, taking Tennesee offensive tackle Darnell Wright with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They had the No. 9 overall pick. But general manager Ryan Poles flipped it to the Philadelphia Eagles for No. 10 and a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Philadelphia took Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, whom many had mocked to the Bears if he was available when they came up on the clock. Instead, they took the 6-foot-5, 333-pound Wright, the consensus top-rated right tackle in this class. And, for what it’s worth, quarterback Justin Fields certainly seems to be on board with the pick.
— Justin Fields (@justnfields) April 28, 2023
Bears’ Rookie Darnell Wright: Protecting Justin Fields ‘My Only Plan’
Given his plug-and-playability, Wright figures to round out a remade Bears offensive line that will feature Cody Whitehair back at guard and 2022’s starting right guard Teven Jenkins shift over to the left side as Nate Davis replaces him.
Asked about the responsibility of protecting Fields who led the league in sacks taken last season, Wright was very matter-of-fact in his response.
“That’s my only plan.,” Wright said in his first press conference via Zoom. “That’s what I’m there for…to keep him clean,” he said. “Amazing, amazing quarterback. And the things he does, we’re going to have a great team….protecting him, that’s my job.”
Wright also spoke on his relationship with Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and offensive line coach Chris Morgan.
Darnell Wright Sounds Off on OC Luke Getsy
“I was at the Senior Bowl and Luke was…a part of it,” Wright remarked. “And it’s funny, he’s the offensive coordinator of the Bears. It’s like a full-circle moment a little bit. It’s crazy. It means a lot that I already have a relationship a little bit with that guy.”
Wright, a four-year starter in college, was voted the American team’s offensive line practice player of the week during his time down in Mobile.
“Bears GM Ryan Poles values size/length on the OL,” tweeted Albert Breer of The Monday Morning QB. “Passing on Peter Skoronski = surprising. But going w/Darnell Wright fits his history/background.”
It’s not just his work on the practice field, either.
Wright has been described as a plug-and-play option at right tackle where the Bears tried to get by with a combination of Larry Borom and Riley Reiff last season.
If you want to run the ball, @Vol_Football RT Darnell Wright is your guy.
Few players boosted their draft stock at @seniorbowl more than Wright.
Hearing Top-20 buzz now from NFL teams.
This is what climbing to second-level & finishing looks like. 👀#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/d0v55R0a9W
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 29, 2023
Wright revealed that he had a top-30 workout with the Bears but he also had a private workout with Morgan.
“Coach C-Mo, I knew he liked me a lot. I knew Poles liked me a lot. And you never know. You can try to say, ‘I think they’re going to pick me’. But, then again, Coach C-Mo, we just actually got off the phone. And he was saying, ‘Man, it was so hard not to just call you and tell you…we were going to pick you’.”
Morgans’ affinity didn’t stop him from putting Wright “through the wringer” in their private workout.
“They brought me in and he also came and he worked me out. He kicked my a***, I’m just going to be honest. He wanted to see what I was made of. It was hard but I didn’t quit,” he said detailing the frenetic pace of the workout. “I think he respected that.
“He just wanted to see if I would quit, and I just wouldn’t quit. …They’ll definitely see what you’re made of a little bit in that little session.”
So what did the Bears see that fans hope to next season?
Darnell Wright Points to His Tape
Wright compared the NFL Draft Combine process to speed dating and said that when the Bears gave him the choice between put-put golf and darts, he chose the latter.
But he’s more than content to point to his tape when asked about the type of player he is.
“You see on tape, I’m big and I’m strong. But I don’t think people realize, once they really get to see some more of me, they’ll see how athletic I am. I can play on both sides if needed…I can play probably anywhere on the line. My athleticism will speak for itself, and I just want to get better and better with my technique.”
Found our Mr. Wright 🧡 pic.twitter.com/ZdcYWW33oV
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 28, 2023
“We talked about [what he can do better], I’m not going to tell you everything we talked about. But we talked about a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of stuff that I need to work on, and there’s a lot of stuff that I do really well. And I think it’s rare that you get to go somewhere that you really get to get coached by somebody that you really like, that you feel like could really take your game to the next level. And that’s what I feel like C-Mo can do for me…Coach C-Mo is going to be perfect for me.”
Wright said that Morgan told him that it would be hard but that he “never shies away from hard”.