Darnell Wright

How Bears' Darnell Wright made quick leap during OTAs

The Bears' first-round pick has had a lot thrown at him early on, but he's holding his own

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Things always move fast for rookies in the NFL. Whether you're the No. 1 overall pick or Mr. Irrelevant, the change in competition level, amount of information absorbed, conditioning required, and expectations leaves most spinning in Year 1.

That's true for Bears rookie right tackle Darnell Wright. That's not an indictment on the No. 10 overall pick—just the opposite.

The Bears have thrown a lot at Wright from the moment he walked through the doors at Halas Hall to find out what the rookie can handle.

The answer? A lot.

“It’s just confidence, you know?" offensive line coach Chris Morgan said Wednesday when asked about the biggest leap Wright has made early on. "You know how it is. When you learn something and you hear something, how much does it stick with you until you go out and walk through it? Then you go out and you drill it. Then you go out in a team setting and you do it as a team. Then you come in and you watch it and you talk about it. That might have been against one look with one formation and one motion, and you might have three different ways to do that and the defense can do anything.

"It’s really about his understanding. His confidence has grown. The more you hear the calls, the more you hear the install, the more you study, the more you hear the scheme. When you own it as a player and you learn it, confidence rises. It’s cool to see that."

Work during the offseason program is different for each position group. For offensive linemen, this month is for fine-tuning technique, becoming experts in the scheme, and gelling as a unit. It's impossible to evaluate their play in shorts and t-shirts, but Morgan must make sure Wright is on track to hit the ground running when the shells and pads come on during training camp.

“Right now, you’re installing your offense," Morgan said of Wright's focus right now. "We just finished OTAs. Every day is a different installation. There some things that he hasn’t walked through, he hasn’t heard installed yet. You’re still kind of in that process. Still kind of introducing the calls to him, the techniques to him, his responsibility in the scheme. You’re trying to cover your playbook which is completely different from – all these guys that came in – their playbook. Learning the terminilogy, learning the overall scheme, learning fundamentals. Just learning to communicate with the guy next to him because it is a little bit different. It’s just different. You huddle, you get to the line of scrimmage, we’re motioning all the time, sometimes there is multiple plays. It takes a little bit getting used to.”

Morgan has been impressed with Wright's ability to digest and retain information early in his Bears tenure. The rookie still has miles to go before he's ready for live action. It's an intricate process, but the Bears believe Wright is ahead of schedule in the early stages.

"Understanding the scheme, kind of building, taking it day by day," Morgan said about what Wright is doing well. "Communicating with his teammates, learning the flow of the day: how we install, how we walk through, how we drill. He's doing a good job of kind of learning our process."

Much is expected of Darnell Wright. The Bears had no good answer at right tackle last season. Larry Borom and Riley Reiff combined to give up 32 pressures and eight sacks.

The Bears' selection of Wright with the No. 10 overall pick patched arguably their biggest hole on the offensive side of the ball. A patch that will only hold if Wright lives up to expectations.

So far, so good.

"He’s starting to get it," Morgan said. "Things are coming together. It’s been fun.”

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