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Welcome to the Nation, K.J. Wright


K.J. Wright is a bonafide winner.

In his 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, the linebacker posted a 105-54 regular-season record – including nine playoff wins. The year after current Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley left the Seahawks defense to become the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wright won a Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos in a dominating fashion. That "Legion of Boom" defense that was originally constructed by Bradley made two consecutive Super Bowl appearances and won four NFC West division titles.

This signing makes Wright the only player on the Raiders active roster with a Super Bowl win on their resume. He's one of three players to have played in a Super Bowl alongside Cory Littleton and Solomon Thomas.

Together again

Wright once again playing for Bradley just seems right.

The Raiders defensive coordinator helped draft Wright out of Mississippi State in 2011. Under Bradley's direction, the linebacker seamlessly became a productive piece in the "Legion of Boom" defense that took the league by storm. In his two seasons under Bradley, Wright complied over 160 total tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.

Since Bradley became the Silver and Black's defensive coordinator, he's recruited many of his former star players in Yannick Ngakoue, Casey Hayward Jr., Denzel Perryman and now Wright.

"You can look in people's eyes and tell that they care. Gus has got that look," Wright said on Monday. "He's somebody that I've always loved playing for. He works his tail off, he's always in this building making sure that this defense is going to be on point."

Ranked as one of the best among his peers

Until Wright signed with the Raiders, he was the lone player on the 2021 NFL's Top 100 list that was unsigned.

The linebacker came in at No. 67 on the list, one spot above Raiders' star running back Josh Jacobs. This was the linebacker's first appearance on the NFL's Top 100 list in his career.

"He's a competitor, he's going to compete against you. Just a player that's going to be there every week," Steelers guard Trai Turner said of Wright after the ranking was revealed.

Wright now becomes the third player on the Raiders roster who made the Top 100 list alongside Jacobs (68) and Darren Waller (35).

Age ain't nothing but a number

The Seattle Seahawks decided they wanted to go in a younger direction at the linebacker position, leading to Wright not being resigned to the team he's spent his whole NFL career with. The Raiders should see that as a blessing in disguise, considering how much Wright has proven he still has left in the tank.

At 32 years old, Wright is coming off another exceptional season with 86 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 10 pass deflections, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Arguably the most important stat of Wright's 2020 season was his 16 games he played and started in. Wright's ability to be durable and healthy is crucial for the Raiders as the linebacking unit is currently low at depth due to injuries. Putting Wright in the same room with Littleton, Perryman, and Nick Kwiatkoski will be very beneficial for the young, improving defense.

View photos of new Raiders linebacker K.J. Wright in action. In 144 games, Wright has recorded 934 total tackles, 54 pass deflections, 13.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and six interceptions.

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