Bears' Darnell Wright named best OL in '23 draft by former NFL center

Former NFL center says Darnell Wright best OL in draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

NFL experts and pundits alike have almost universally lauded the Bears’ decision to select Darnell Wright with their first-round draft pick this year. He’s big and strong, reliable in both pass protection and run blocking and fills a huge need on the roster. Most importantly, Wright should help Justin Fields play to the best of his ability, by keeping the heat off of Fields.

Again, the consensus is that Wright was a smart pick and will elevate the offense immediately. Former NFL center A.Q. Shipley took his praise to the next level, however.

“Darnell is by far the best lineman that I’ve watched on film,” Shipley said on “The Pat McAfee Show,” as he reacted to the pick live.

The first thing that Shipley loves about Wright is his attitude. Shipley noted a mean streak in Wright that offensive line coaches covet in their players. Shipley also said that Wright’s play reminded him of another nasty Bears lineman: Teven Jenkins.

“They play the game like absolute f—g dogs,” Shipley said. “(Wright) plays like an absolute prick. You try to make an inside move on him, he’s trying to bury you into the f—g ground. Love it. I absolutely love it.”

Attitude is important, but it’s not the end all be all. Technique is obviously important, and Shipley likes what he sees from Wright in that regard, too.

“He plays square. Great feet, great hands. He punches the f— out of you.

“We’re going to see a lot of linemen drafted… not everybody uses their hands. If I could go back and teach my younger self one thing: you have to play with your hands at the next level. This guy has that already.”

Shipley went through an impromptu demonstration of the techniques he sees Wright deploying, including his powerful punch to engage pass rushers and how he uses his hands to help anchor and eventually finish blocks.

In each case, Shipley’s imitation of Wright led to the same result.

“Game over, just like that.”

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