The Chicago Bears had plenty of reasons to like Darnell Wright. He’s big, physical, nasty, and one of the best pass protectors at his position in the 2023 draft class. He was everything they needed to help continue the rebuild of the offensive line. However, there is always that one specific moment during an evaluation process when a team becomes enamored with a player. They become convinced this is the guy they need to get. It happened for Ryan Pace with Mitch Trubisky in 2017. GM Ryan Poles is no different.
Following the end of the 1st round, he spoke at length about why the Bears zeroed in on Wright. The decision wasn’t without controversy. Many thought the team was prepared to take Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who was still there at #9. Instead, they swapped spots with the Philadelphia Eagles for a future 4th round pick. Poles didn’t want to move down too far and risk losing Wright. It turns out this infatuation became serious when the Bears had him in for a private visit. They put him through a rigorous workout, trying to get a sense of how mentally and physically tough he is. It went better than expected.
Darnell Wright showed everything they wanted to see.
To be able to make quick mental adjustments even when you’re fatigued. That is often what separates the good players in the NFL from everybody else. Players like that carry you deep into the playoffs. Wright himself admitted the Bears “kicked my ass” during the workout. Yet unlike several players who might get annoyed at such a thing, the big tackle seemed to love it. He instantly connected with offensive line coach Chris Morgan. There was a sense that this organization might be what was necessary to help take his game to the next level.
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Having talent is one thing. Having a great work ethic and desire to be great is another. Darnell Wright improved drastically from 2021 to 2022. This was because he embraced the finer details of his position, improving his footwork and hand technique. He also worked on his conditioning. While still 330 lbs, nobody could say he was out of shape. The guy moved well and never seemed gassed despite Tennessee’s up-tempo offense. All of those things coalesced for the Bears during the private visit.