The ‘5 Bears Most to Prove' series kicks off with Safety Major Wright. The 5-11 206 pound Bear is an athletic Safety who can come up and tackle and can also hold his own in zone coverage. In any other scheme Wright would be SS because of the concern that he can't come up and cover slot receivers, but in Lovie Smith tampa-2 scheme that runs many different zone coverage's, Wright can get away with playing FS since both safety positions are interchangeable.
Taken in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft, Wright was pegged to be a starter at either one of the safety positions next to Chris Harris. When Wright went down with an injury in training camp, it stunted his development and forced Lovie to put veteran Danieal Manning at SS. The combination of Manning and Harris worked out for the Bears as Harris was named to the All-Pro 2nd team and Manning was rated by Pro Football Focus as the 4th best safety in the entire league. Because Wright was a high 3rd round selection and is very talented, Lovie and Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli rotated him in the line-up with both veterans to get him adjusted to the NFL level. Wright had some highlights and some lowlights when he was in there, but the highlights outweighed the lowlights and it has set him up to possibly get a lot more playing time in 2011.
There will be a lot of pressure on Wright in 2011 for several of reasons. Whenever a new CBA is agreed upon Manning will be an unrestricted free agent and the Bears are not willing to give Manning the dollars he commands. Part of the Bears reason for not making Manning a priority is because the investment they have in Wright along with drafting a safety in this year draft in Chris Conte. Manning seems to have finally found a role in this defense at SS and he wind up being the best Safety on the team. Assuming Manning is not back with the Bears; Wright will have big shoes to fill at the SS position. What made Manning a force at that SS position is no doubt his athleticism and speed at the position, and it was definitely on notice in the box and in coverage. Wright is quick and athletic himself, but this season he will have to prove he can be just as good if not better than Manning at the position.