Darnell Wright Sure is Popping Up a Bunch in Connection with the Bears First Round Pick
For someone who has been following NFL mock drafts since last May, I think we hit a crossroads today. To put that another way: It feels like the mock drafts are making a turn.
They’re going from more of an informative exercise to simply put certain players on our radar to something that begins to look more like an actual predictive method. I’ve been thinking about how it was around this time last year when Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon was going to the Bears in multiple mock drafts.
It was a new name, but it was a noteworthy one. Mostly because it was part of a growing consensus around Chicago choosing a cornerback in Round 2. Sure, they had needs along the offensive line and at receiver. And it was definitely looking like they’d do it with one (if not both) of their second-round picks. Instead, GM Ryan Poles went with cornerback (Gordon) and safety (Jaquan Brisker). And while the Brisker pick might’ve been a bit of a stumper at the time, the Gordon pick made sense when you consider (1) the team need and (2) the buzz connecting Gordon and Chicago leading up to the draft.
With that in mind, I find it quite interesting that we’re seeing history repeat itself in a way. Because there seems to be a growing consensus around Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright as a Bears first-round option:
- In his latest REKAP vlog, Chicago sports talker David Kaplan reports the team is “doing big time due diligence” on Wright.
- Plus, Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent mock draft has the Bears selecting Wright with the ninth overall pick. Curious timing considering how it was his mock at this time in 2022 that had Kyler Gordon as a surprise pick going to the Bears.
- And in case you missed it, the Bears reportedly had Wright in for a top 30 visit last week. Wright’s visit was one of many the Bears have done with this draft class’ top offensive linemen. All in all, it sure seems like they’re doing a heckuva lot of homework on offensive line prospects who could land in their laps when it is time for them to pick.
As for Wright, I’m digging him as a prospect and a potential Bears fit.
And you will be too after reading this insight from Kiper and ESPN teammate Jordan Reid:
Yep. I totally get why the Bears would want to be in on this guy.
The Tennessee product was a first-team All-SEC performer in 2022. He also has good size (6-5, 333 pounds) and length (33-3/4″ arms). Both of which will have teams wanting to dig into him more as a prospect. But for me, it is the combination of Wright performing at a high level against SEC competition and the experience at right and left tackle. There is no more hiding lesser pass-blockers at RT anymore. Not with how defenses bring heat from all different angles. Therefore, both tackles need to be solid pass protectors. Given his prior experience at left tackle, Wright has the tools to thrive on the other side. And at the NFL level, he could do it without the overwhelming pressure that comes with playing left tackle. I’m into it. If the Bears trust their coaches to develop Wright, they should be into it, too.
But here’s the kicker: I don’t know if I’m comfortable with the Bears taking Wright with the ninth pick. It feels like that could be seen as a good, but not a great use of a top-10 selection. Even still … I can see a scenario where the Bears trade back, move down, collect draft capital, and still take Wright. Admittedly, it would take some threading the needle and some fortuitous bounces. But aren’t we do to see the Bears catch some breaks?