Darnell Wright

Bears rave about Darnell Wright's preparation for training camp

Ryan Poles heaped praised on his rookie right tackle.

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The Bears won’t put the pads on until next Wednesday, so it will be some time before they see what first-round draft pick Darnell Wright can really do. But GM Ryan Poles was effusive when describing his first impressions of the rookie right tackle on training camp report day.

“This offseason he busted his butt,” Poles said. “He’s down, he lost weight, he lost body fat. He absolutely crushed the conditioning test. Like didn’t break a sweat. So he’s focused, he cares, he wants to be really good.”

That dedication is part of what drew the Bears to Wright in the first place. After the draft we heard stories of a grueling workout the Bears and offensive line coach Chris Morgan put Wright through in their one-on-one meeting with him. The point was not only to see if Wright could keep going, but could stay mentally locked in when he was run ragged.

Now that training camp is here, the Bears are looking to assess Wright’s mental toughness in other areas.

“Like in terms of those hard days, tough opponents that you want to make sure you’re locked in and loaded for that,” Poles said. “Then obviously knowing your assignments and playing fast. Usually it starts a little slow in terms of executing at a high speed. As you get more comfortable you can play faster.”

Many considered Wright the most NFL-ready tackle in this year’s draft class, so it’s not surprising that the Bears slid him into the starting right tackle job right away. That said, the Bears will tweak some of the little technical details in Wright’s game throughout the summer.

“There’s little habits that you have in college that you’ve gotta clean up that aren’t going to work as well in the league,” Poles said.

The Bears clearly aren’t shy about putting rookies in for significant snaps at significant spots. Braxton Jones took over the starting left tackle job partway through OTAs last season and ended up starting every game blocking Justin Fields’ blind side. Kyler Gordon got work at both outside corner and nickel. Each man had ups and downs last season, each man was afforded a long leash to work through their growing pains, and each man benefited from the playing time. 

We won’t be able to really judge where Wright is at until the pads come on next week, but if he does struggle a bit he’ll be given the same leash that Jones and Gordon had last season.

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