LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – After trading back one slot, the Bears selected Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright with the No. 10 overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday evening.
Wright was an All-SEC selection for the Volunteers as a starter at right tackle in 2022. He projects to step in immediately as a starter for the Bears' offensive line at right tackle, a position the team didn’t address in free agency in March. A prized recruit to Tennessee, the 6-foot-6, 335-pound Wright started parts of four seasons for the Volunteers.
The 21-year-old Wright was coached by Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy at the Senior Bowl in January, but he called it a "shock" to be selected by Chicago.
"I haven't even scratched the surface of what I can be," Wright said in a teleconference after being selected. "I think they know that and I know that."
The Bears moved down from No. 9 overall to No. 10 in a trade with the Eagles, who sent Chicago a 2024 fourth-round pick in the deal. Philadelphia selected embattled-but-talented Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, whom Chicago passed on despite a clear need on its defensive line.
In March, Carter pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing in connection with a fatal crash in January in Athens, Georgia. He received a sentence of 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service, and he’ll also be required to attend a state-approved defensive driving course, ESPN reported. Carter won’t serve jail time.
“The more time you spend around him, the more you realize that he’s a good player, but you get to know him more as a person,” Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham said of Carter on Tuesday. “I think ultimately, where we feel we made the best decision for us and our organization.”
In selecting Wright, the Bears addressed a position of great need. Chicago explored its options at tackle in free agency but ultimately backed out on the bidding at the highest levels for the top veterans available on the open market.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields was sacked 55 times in 15 starts last season. That figure included sacks on 14.7% of his dropbacks, the most of any NFL starter in 2022.
"That's my job — to keep him clean," Wright said of Fields. "Amazing quarterback."
The Bears currently hold three selections on the second day of the NFL Draft on Friday. Those are No. 53 and No. 61 overall in the second round and No. 64 overall, which is the first slot in the third round.
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.