What Bears want Darnell Wright to get out of offseason program

Bears outline critical goals for Wright in offseason program originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST -- The Bears expect big things from first-round right tackle Darnell Wright. The Tennessee product arrives in Chicago as a critical lynchpin in the Bears' rebuilt support system for quarterback Justin Fields.

The work for Wright to reach sky-high expectations began Friday when the Bears opened their two-day rookie minicamp at Halas Hall.

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Wright's goal between Friday and the end of the offseason program? Jump into the deep end of the NFL pool and learn to swim.

"Just learning our style," head coach Matt Eberflus said Friday. "I mean, he’s close to where we want him to be in terms of the style. We just got to get him to here [holds flat hand a little higher]. And then be able to retain the information and execute on the field. I think he’s in a good spot. He retains information very well.

"Obviously, his movement skills and athleticism are gonna be on point. But we’re gonna have to really harness him in there and how he uses his body. And understanding that it’s gonna be a little different every week because you’re gonna be blocking different types of pass rushers. He’s got to learn the scheme. Learn what works for him. And that’s a process. It takes time to be able to do that."

For Wright, that process will include getting down to his preferred playing weight.

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The 6-foot-5 tackle played at 335 last season for Tennessee but plans to be a little lighter for optimum effectiveness in the Bears' wide-zone run scheme. Wright said he wasn't sure what weight the Bears want him to play at but doesn't think it will be drastically lower than where he is now.

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Wright understands the expectations that come with being a top-10 pick. That pressure is increased by the make-or-break nature of this season for Fields.

The Bears must have a clear evaluation of who Fields is as an NFL quarterback when this season concludes. In order to do that, the Bears had to improve both the protection and weapons around the 24-year-old quarterback.

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That mission started with the blockbuster trade to land wide receiver DJ Moore from the Carolina Panthers. The selections of Wright, running back Roschon Johnson, and wide receiver Tyler Scott were the final pieces of the puzzle.

Fields has in own role to play. The third-year quarterback knows he must improve his short pass accuracy to keep the offense moving on time. That starts with mechanics, which has been the focus of Fields' offseason work.

"We all know we’ve got to improve in the passing game," Eberflus said Friday. "Part of that is rhythm and timing. That’s the footwork with Justin. He’s been working on that really, really good. In terms of the quick pass, dropback pass, movement pass, and he’s really made some big strides in that area coming in so farー on his own and now coming in to Phase Two."

The Bears feel that all of the pieces are in place for Fields to make the needed Year 3 leap to cement himself as the franchise quarterback in Chicago. Wright plans to be a big part of that success and is confident his NFL story with the Bears can end in a gold jacket.

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“I don't even know. I'm first-ballot Hall-of-Fame, automatic,” Wright told NBC Sports Chicago when asked where he sees his career going in 10-15 years alongside Morgan and Fields. "I’ll be up here on these [Halas Hall walls]."

Wright's journey and NFL education started Friday in 70-degree weather in Lake Forest with the first of countless reps on the Halas Hall practice fields.

What comes next for the No. 10 overall pick? Everything.

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