Monday, May 20, 2024

The Story Behind Darnell Wright’s Signature College Performance Is Crazy


Darnell Wright was a popular name among scouts going into the 2022 season for Tennessee. They liked what he showed at left tackle the year prior. Now he was moving to the right side. It was an opportunity to show his versatility and maybe build on his progress. Even so, it was clear he hadn’t yet shown enough to be considered a viable 1st round option. The young offensive tackle needed a signature performance to show draft evaluators that he was the real deal—his moment arrived in Week 6 against Alabama.

The Crimson Tide had owned the rivalry with the Volunteers for years. That finally changed as Tennessee racked up 567 yards of offense in a 52-49 victory. Quarterback Hendon Hooker got most of the love, throwing for 385 yards and five touchdowns. Sharp-eyed viewers knew that doesn’t happen without the pass protection clinic Wright put on that day, shutting down star Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson the entire game. People may not know what happened in that game’s lead-up. Tennessee offensive line coach Glen Elarbee told the story to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.

The craziest thing about the Will Anderson matchup last season is that the week of, Darnell was like: “Man, I’m going to be good. Don’t worry about me. I’m going to overset with this guy and be all good.” He just had a confidence within himself and he knew what he was going to be able to do. And Darnell is his best when he has someone really good lined up across from him. He’s almost super-competitive and wants to do everything perfectly. And even when something doesn’t go right and it’s not even his fault, he gets torn up about it and almost kicks his game to a higher gear. He’s pretty special that way.

Darnell Wright called his shot and delivered.

People talked about the tackle having a high degree of self-confidence. This story offers proof. Most young tackles would’ve accepted the likelihood that coaches would send them frequent help to handle a gifted pass rusher like Anderson. Wright took one look at the tape and basically told himself, “I can take this guy, no problem.” Forget help. Send it somewhere else. The decision to trust the big tackle was a crucial moment that led Tennessee to pulling off the upset. The game also forced the Bears to take a closer look.

A few months later, GM Ryan Poles became convinced Darnell Wright was precisely what the organization needed. His size, athleticism, toughness, and mean streak checked all the boxes. Yet one should never underestimate the value of self-confidence. When teammates see how Wright carries himself, that can be infectious in a locker room. It spreads. If you can get 11 guys on the field playing that way, you win a lot of games. Poles knew what he was doing when he drafted this kid.

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Jerry C. Richardson
May 26, 2023 8:08 am

Darnell Wright, Tevin Jenkins, and Braxton Jones are solid and will anchor this OL for at least a decade. All 3 are capable of playing either side of the OL at their position and Jenkins is capable of playing either G/T on either side. Guard may be his best position, but he is able to switch outside and play T if necessary. Add vets N Davis, L Patrick, and C Whitehair to this line and suddenly J Fields will have an opportunity to relax somewhat and the time to go through his progressions making this offense even more explosive. The… Read more »

May 25, 2023 8:33 pm

I was very happy with the leaked info on taking Wright and the way Poles carried this out. The trade with the Eagles was such an interesting way to get it done for the right price. I am believing this regime will make the Bears good again- even if it takes extra time on a few misses. Will Anderson shows you in this video what a bad ass cat he is. Wright is a plug and play 1st round dancing bear. Very pleased.

May 25, 2023 3:15 pm

@ jovaniBgood I agree 100%! Its crazy how even just a competent GM makes those other ones you listed look like 🤡🤡🤡 I do think Poles is top 1/4 tough, really liking what he is doing so far, only time will tell though. I think all Bears fans can/will never forgive Pace for taking Tru over Mahomes!

May 25, 2023 1:36 pm

Poles knew what he was doing, knows what he is doing and I think the future is FINALLY bright for Bear’s fans!

I’m not saying he is one of the best GMs in the NFL yet, but the man is clever, calculating and won’t veer from his vision. That’s at least solid and in the top half of GMs in the NFL. He also seems to be in lock-step with HC and QB1, which is HUGE.

It only took the McMorons four swings at it, (see: Angleo, Emery and Pace) to finally to get the GM position right!

May 25, 2023 1:13 pm

Wright should have some pro bowl years and likely a few Allpro as well.

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