With the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft the Chicago Bears selected Tennessee senior offensive tackle Darnell Wright. Following a stellar 2022 season that earned him first-team All-SEC honors, Wright found himself soaring up draft boards, being mocked as high as 17th overall to Pittsburgh by ESPN’s Matt Miller.
In his final season, Wright allowed just five hurries, two quarterback hits, and zero sacks while playing over 500 snaps at the right tackle position, a streak that spanned the former 5-star recruit’s final 19 games for Tennessee.
It wasn’t all high times for Wright, who struggled his first two years in Knoxville, but found his footing midway through the 2021 season, surrendering just one quarterback hit and eight hurries over the final six games of the season, one that foreshadowed an incredible 2022 campaign.
By drafting Wright, the Bears showed their commitment to finding stability along the offensive line to help protect franchise quarterback Justin Fields. Chicago’s offensive line was middle of the pack last year, finishing 14th in the league according to PFF. More specifically, Wright will look to fill in for the loss of right tackle Riley Reiff, now a member of the New England Patriots. Reiff finished last season with an 64.3 overall PFF grade. All this being said, who is Darnell Wright? Sure college stats are nice, but how will he transfer to the next level?
Here are some of Terry’s thoughts from last week.
Wright’s size and power will be his calling card at the next level. 6-5, 330+ pounds is a lot to handle when Wright is firing off the ball coming at you in run blocking situations, which he’ll get to do more of in the NFL. His powerful drive blocking is his best trait, and his length and adequate athletic ability keeps him stabilized in pass protection. Nobody is going to accuse him of being a dancing bear, but he made big strides as a senior in that category. Wright won’t be the most agile tackle in the league, but his ability to absorb speed-to-power and anchor is pretty special. That all starts with his footwork, which really developed through the years in Knoxville.