2021 could be a big year for the Las Vegas Raiders defense. Though the team spent a lot of money adding players to the group, they have yet to stop. On Wednesday, they signed six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. He may not be the last notable name they sign.
The Raiders’ linebacker corps has been looking solid in training camp but it looks like more competition is possibly on the way. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, former Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright is headed to Las Vegas for a visit.
Wright has been a mainstay in Seattle for a decade and was a key part of the 2013 squad that won the Super Bowl. As Schefter pointed out, the linebacker played under Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for two seasons when he was still with the Seahawks. Wright knows the defense that he runs very well so it would be an easy fit. If the Raiders are looking for more linebacker help, Wright is the best available fit for them.
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Do Raiders Need Wright?
With training camp in full swing, the Raiders are getting a better idea of which areas are strengths and which areas are weaknesses. There’s been no indication that the linebackers have struggled. The team already has former Pro Bowler Cory Littleton in-house. He was bad last season but should bounce back under Bradley. Also, Nicholas Morrow has been very impressive for the team. He’s got a strong shot of earning a starting spot.
The Raiders also have 2020 free-agent signee Nick Kwiatkoski. He was solid for the team last year and should get plenty of playing time. Plus, there is second-year pro Tanner Muse and rookie Divine Deablo, who aren’t likely to get cut as they were both recent third-round picks. All of that is to say that the Raiders may not have room for Wright. That said, he could be better than any linebacker the team has on the roster. It’s worth it to give him a shot in training camp and see if he’s really that much better than the current crop of linebackers.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Wright left Las Vegas without a deal but could still sign with the team.
Raiders’ Linebacker Corps in for a Surprise?
Heading into training camp, most would’ve thought that Littleton, Kwiatkoski and Morrow were the obvious starters at linebacker. However, Muse is surprising people. According to Tashan Reed of The Athletic, the former Clemson standout is seeing more first-team snaps than Kwiatkoski early in camp:
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and linebackers coach Richard Smith seem to prefer Nicholas Morrow as the starting middle linebacker. Meanwhile, Tanner Muse and Cory Littleton have taken the most snaps at outside linebacker when the defense is in its 4-3 base. Littleton, who lines up next to Morrow in the nickel package, is no surprise, but few would’ve projected that Muse would be one of the first three linebackers over Kwiatkoski. Of course, that’s not set in stone yet.
Muse looked really bad last training camp and missed the entire season due to injury. He must’ve put in a ton of work this offseason and could end up turning into an important player for Las Vegas.