Count Dallas Cowboys All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons among the people who absolutely loved the Chicago Bears’ 2023 first-round draft choice.
During Bleacher Report’s live show for the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, Parsons made it clear he loved the Bears’ decision to use the No. 10 overall pick on Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright, calling the selection “a great pick” and citing Wright’s successful performance against Will Anderson Jr. — the No. 3 overall pick — in 2022.
“[This is] a great pick,” Parsons declared. “Like I said, Chicago was on a mission. You did exactly what you had to do. Before the draft, during the draft, you want a guy like this. Justin Fields isn’t just a passer, he’s a runner, too, and Chicago likes to run the ball. So I’m not mad at this pick. He’s a great run blocker, he’s a great pass blocker, and if you’re able to shut down a guy like Will Anderson, you’re OK. You’re talking about a team [Houston] who just gave up two firsts to go get a guy [Anderson]. That’s the level of guy he was able to slow down. You can say it was early, but he’s a first-round talent.”
Darnell Wright Gives Bears New Starting RT for 2023
The Bears could have gone a couple of different ways with their first-round selection. They had an opportunity to select Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter with the ninth overall pick, but they opted to instead sell the pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for a one-spot slide and a 2024 fourth-round selection. Even then, at No. 10 overall, the Bears had a few options at left tackle between Peter Skoronski and Broderick Jones.
Instead, Bears general manager Ryan Poles silently reinforced his confidence in 2022 starting left tackle Braxton Jones and cashed in on plug-and-play right tackle in Wright, who becomes the first offensive lineman the Bears have drafted in the first round since 2013 when they selected eventual two-time All-Pro Kyle Long with the 20th pick.
Wright went up against top-level competition in the talent-loaded SEC for Tennesee in 2022 and walked away without giving up a single sack over his 892 snaps. Against Anderson, who ended up being the first defensive player off the board in 2023, he allowed just one pressure and three tackles. He also fared well in his matchup against Georgia, allowing zero pressures to the national champion defense that had multiple first-round picks among its crew, including Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith.
“The tone-setting, the nasty mentality that you look for,” Poles said after Thursday’s first round. “That probably set him apart. I think the anchor was a big one. That’s critical. The combination of size and athleticism together was another part that made us feel really good about him.”
Darnell Wright Already Has Trust With Bears’ Staff
Wright may have the Bears feeling good about him stepping in and becoming a Day 1 starting right tackle for them, but there are still areas of his game that will need to be refined before Chicago can get the best out of its latest first-round selection. While Wright has some of the unteachable with his size (6-foot-6, 335-pounds) and athletic ability, his technique needs to be polished for him to truly last at the NFL level.
Fortunately, Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan is already seeing eye-to-eye with his newest and biggest project, based on what Wright said before the draft.
“He said I want players that come in and have talent and don’t just get by,” Wright said, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Chicago. “He kind of explained, you know, ‘You’ve done good up to this point, but you’ve got so much more in you.’ My pet peeve is like when I feel like I can do something and I’ll establish that foundation with the team — you know you have to establish that trust before you can do anything extra — I told him how after I establish that I want to try some things and see what works best for me.
“He was like, ‘I’m going to make sure you got the foundation first.’ We got some things to work out, and if that’s the only thing to work out, I think we’ll have a good relationship. He’s a good coach.”