Grading Bears’ top 2023 draft pick


AP Photo | John Amis

Tennessee offensive lineman Darnell Wright (58) plays against Ball State during an NCAA football game Sept. 1, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. The Chicago Bears selected Wright with the No. 10 overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday, April 27, 2023. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

By Eddie Miller, Sports Reporter

DeKALB With day one of the 2023 NFL draft wrapping up, the Bears made a safe selection in University of Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The Bears took Wright with the 10th pick after trading back one spot with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

The Bears started the draft originally with the first overall pick. After trading the pick to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for wide receiver D.J. Moore, a 2023 first round pick, a 2023 second round pick, a 2024 first round pick and a 2025 second round pick, the Bears were set to select at No. 9. 

While on the clock with the ninth overall pick, the Bears pulled the trigger on a trade to move back one spot. The trade was with the Eagles and the Bears received the 10th pick this year and a fourth round pick in 2024. The Bears took Wright with the 10th overall pick. 

Wright is a 6-foot-6, 335 pound left tackle who played guard and right and left tackle in his time at Tennessee. In his college career, Wright played in 47 games and started in 42 of them. Wright left Tennessee not allowing a sack in his last 19 games. 

In 2022, Wright was voted into the ALL-SEC First Team by the Associated Press, coaches and USA Today. Wright was a participant in the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl and was a semifinalist for the 2022 Rotary Lombardi Award – an award for the nation’s best lineman. 

Wright is a strong, physical player and was a good pick, but I believe the Bears could have done a better job. After trading back to pick No. 10, the Bears missed out on University of Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, who was picked by the Eagles. 

Carter is a generational talent and could have made an immediate impact on the Bears defense. If the Bears stayed at the ninth pick, they could have secured Carter and found an offensive tackle similar to Wright in the later rounds of the draft. 

That being said, the offensive line is arguably one of Chicago’s most glaring weaknesses. According to StatMuse, Bears quarterback Justin Fields was sacked 55 times – tied for most in the league in the 2022-23 regular season.

The current starting left tackle for the Bears is Braxton Jones. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones gave up seven sacks and caused 12 penalties in the last season – both tied for fourth most in the league. 

Although the Bears should have taken Carter, I believe that Wright was the next best pick and will provide an immediate impact for the Bears offensive line. 

Eddie’s grade of the Bears’ pick: B+