KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee’s Darnell Wright became the first Volunteer to hear his name called at the 2023 NFL Draft when he was selected 10th overall by the Chicago Bears on Thursday.
The 6’5″, 333 lb. offensive lineman is the highest draft pick from Tennessee since Eric Berry went fifth overall in 2010.
He is the 47th first-round selection in program history and the first since Derek Barnett in 2017. The last Tennessee offensive lineman selected in the first round was Ja’Wuan James in 2014.
Wright established himself as the SEC’s best offensive tackle this past season. After starting all 13 games in 2021 at left tackle, he switched back to the right and was named to the 2022 All-SEC First Team.
He did not allow a sack in his final 19 games on Rocky Top and wowed analysts with his performance against edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., who was selected third overall by the Houston Texans, in Tennessee’s win over Alabama last season.
He was invited to the 2023 Senior Bowl where he continued to impress scouts and was voted his team’s OL Practice Player of the Week by his peers.
Wright won’t be the only Volunteer in Chicago. He’ll join wide receiver and return specialist Velus Jones Jr., who was picked by the Bears last year in the third round.