If there’s one thing we’ve learned during coach Pete Carroll’s tenure with the Seattle Seahawks, he values a player with versatility. That’s why it’s no surprise the Hawks today signed linebacker K.J. Wright to a four year contract extension.
When Wright was drafted in the 4th round in 2011 out of Mississippi State, he was told by Seahawks’ linebackers coach Ken Norton the team wanted him to learn all of the linebacker positions.
“As you’ve seen I have been all over the place, starting multiple games at SAM, muliple games at WIL and at the MIC, ” offered Wright during an interview with the Sandmeyer Show, am 1090TheFan last month. “It just brings value to you, whenever the team has an injury or something, we shouldn’t miss a beat because you plug the next best guy into the position.
Wright slid over to the middle linebacker spot during Bobby Wagner’s five game absence with a toe injury. With a healthy Wagner, Wright has flourished at his more natural outside position over the past four games.
“You have a lot more freedoms at the WIL, (outside linebacker) because you have a lot of run through opportunities. It’s a position that works really good for me because you make a lot of plays and are all over the place,” explained Wright.
At 6′-4″, 246 pounds, the 25 year old Wright has size to match up with tight ends in pass coverage, and the quickness to stay with a running back on screens or passes in the flat. He leads the team with career-highs 96 tackles and two sacks this season.
“This off-season, we identified K.J. as one of our core players moving forward, and aimed to keep him part of the Seahawks’ family for a long time, ” said Executive Vice President & General Manager John Schneider in the team’s press release.
Looking at the contracts of Seattle’s other top linebackers, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith is signed through this season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent. Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner are locked up through the 2015 season.
The Hawks used a 4th round draft pick on Kevin Pierre-Louis, and liked his progress until he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Undrafted rookie Brock Coyle did some nice things at middle linebacker during Wagner’s absence, but has been a core special teams player over the past five games.
-Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan-
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