When the Seahawks first drafted K.J. Wright, the immediate concern was that the linebacker from Mississippi State wasn’t excited enough about his future in the NFL.
A perplexed general manager John Schneider, who called the fourth-round pick, told Wright he better get more pumped up before talking to Pete Carroll, only to find out that Wright was speaking in hushed tones because he was in the middle of his college graduation, about to walk on stage to pick up his diploma, having earned his degree in criminology.
Four months later, it is safe to say not only that Wright is sufficiently excited to be in the NFL, but also that the Seahawks are equally enthused about the rookie’s play.
“He’s getting better every week,” linebacker coach Ken Norton, Jr. said. “Every time you watch him play, watch him move, he’s getting more comfortable. His reads in the middle are really good, he’s picking up things in the passing game. I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t expect a rookie to have more done than him.”
The fact that Wright is having a good training camp shouldn’t be that surprising; after all, the Seahawks drafted him for a reason. What makes Wright’s first few weeks in the NFL so impressive is that he’s doing it at a position he didn’t play in college. As a sophomore and junior at MSU, Wright, who appeared in every game of his four-year career, started at strongside linebacker, then as a senior he played on the weakside. What he never did, on a regular basis, was play middle linebacker. Yet early in training camp, Norton looked at Wright, saw a player who was big, athletic, and most importantly intelligent — the middle linebacker is essentially the quarterback of the defense — and decided to move Wright to the middle. With the surprising departure of Lofa Tatupu, Wright suddenly became the team’s No. 2 middle linebacker behind David Hawthorne.