The Wright Stuff, Trader Poles Strikes Again, A Brand New O-Line, ESPN’s Predictor Has Bugs to Work Out, and Other Bears Bullets
There aren’t too many food traditions better than the annual devouring of pizza on NFL Draft weekend. But maybe next year, I’ll try and make my own. Or maybe I’ll ask my friend Jim to hook it up and make me a pie. We’ve got a year to plan it out. For now, you can check out his recipe and maybe make it on your own. If you do, please save me a slice!
- ICYMI: Justin Fields has a new bodyguard. Because with the 10th pick (more on that in a moment) in the 2023 NFL Draft, our Chicago Bears chose Tennessee right tackle Darnell Wright. Finally! Some evidence of the front office prioritizing improvement in the trenches. You love to see it. As to why the Bears went with Wright when Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski were on the board, I think ESPN’s Courtney Cronin nails it with her perspective:
“Bears quarterback Justin Fields was sacked 55 times last season. Chicago allowed pressure on 39.5% of dropbacks, worst in the NFL. Wright started 42 games over four seasons at Tennessee where he played 64% of snaps at right tackle and allowed one sack in 454 pass blocking snaps in 2022. The Bears liked the fact he also played left tackle and right guard.”
- And if that’s not enough, how about watching Wright in action:
- There is so much good stuff on the new guy and I want to cram it all into my eye sockets. Colleen Kane (Tribune), Josh Schrock (NBCS Chicago), Jason Lieser (Sun-Times), and Adam Jahns (The Athletic) are among those cranking out content on the newest Bears blocker.
- One thing I love most about watching those highlights (and others scattered around the internet) is how aggressive Wright is in looking for work. It always looks like that guy is looking for someone to push around. Wright has good feet, a desire to get dirty, and an ability to get to the next level and mow through would-be tacklers. Aesthetically speaking, it’s what you want to see out of an offensive lineman.
- Side note: The Bears taking Wright (and not Jones or Skoronski) feels like a vote of confidence for Braxton Jones, who has things lining up for him to remain at left tackle in 2023. This isn’t to say Jones is definitely locked into the spot forever. But for the foreseeable future, Jones is LT1. And I’m fine with that for the moment. Jones proved himself to be a capable starter after climbing the depth chart as a rookie. Now, he’ll need to show he deserves to stay. Watching Jones navigate these waters will be fun to follow at training camp. But we’ve got some time before we get to that point on the calendar.
- The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain makes a good point here:
- We often talk about quarterbacks on a rookie-scale deal being of the highest value. But after seeing the cost of doing business with free agent offensive tackles skyrocket in recent years, locking down two starters on relatively cheap deals could allow the Bears to splurge elsewhere. Perhaps on quarterback?
- I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but if Justin Fields proves he is worthy of the type of mega-deal the likes of Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson just signed then that will be a high priority next offseason when Fields can sign an early extension.
- Because I know you care, here’s what the Bears’ offensive line looks like as of right now: LT Braxton Jones, LG Teven Jenkins, C Cody Whitehair, RG Nate Davis, RT Darnell Wright. How does that look to you?
- As a self-proclaimed history nerd, I’m totally here to see history repeat itself:
- The Bleacher Report scouting report on Wright is something I can vibe with:
Overall, Wright is a physically imposing, tone-setting blocker with starter-level play strength, power and balance to absorb and dish out force to both anchor and uproot opponents on command. His average-level foot quickness and range will limit his ability to protect the corner at tackle on true drop-backs, and he needs some refinement with his posture and hand placement, but he can thrive in a play-action heavy, downhill run scheme at right tackle or guard and earn multiple contracts as a quality starter.
- Is Wright a perfect prospect? No. But no one in this class is perfect. What Wright is is a prospect who has a high floor, fills a position of need, and still has room for growth. I’ll be curious to see how Offensive Line Coach Chris Morgan unlocks Wright’s upside.
- I’m someone who plays fantasy football and loves to engage in the trade market. So this speaks to me:
- A look at all of last night’s draft picks, via our friends at BN NFL:
- The ESPN draft probability calculator was an interesting new item to add to the weekend. But it has some kinks to work out. Simply put, a probability calculator based on previous events and data points doesn’t feel like an accurate predictor of an event like the NFL Draft. And I think the Will Levis situation proves that much:
- It’s still an interesting concept. And I think it is better deployed as a tool before the draft that gives consumers an idea of where things traditionally go on draft day. But once the thing goes live, everything goes out the window.
- “Nick Madrigal Earned Himself Some Praise” is a headline I did not expect to read in 2023. The wonders of the world never cease.
- Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, family, and fans of Jerry Springer. The long-time television host who entertained for decades passed away. And our friends at BN Bulls remember the time when Benny the Bull was a guest on the Springer show:
- Once the NFL Draft is over, I feel as if a “Baggage” marathon is in store for your friend Luis. People slept on that show. But not me.
- An all-time great baseball moment:
- The countdown to the NHL Draft lottery marches on: