After a month of anticipation, the Las Vegas Raiders finally signed linebacker K.J. Wright. An immensely talented player, Wright will be a leader on a defense that looks to be much improved. Here is why he’s the Raiders’ X-factor in 2021.
Raiders need him now more than ever
After suffering injuries to linebackers, Nicholas Morrow and Javin White, Las Vegas became awfully thin at the position. As such, they swung a trade for Panthers linebacker Denzel Perryman. Although a big addition to a weak core, Las Vegas did not stop there. After signing Wright, the Raiders were able to turn a weakness into a strength. Many fans are claiming this is the deepest linebacker group they have seen the team have. Depending on their age, they are probably not wrong. With guys like Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton heavily involved as well, look for this group to carry the defense in 2021.
A dependable leader
It is not a stretch to say that Wright is the best linebacker the Raiders have had in years. Since the days of NaVorro Bowman, the Raiders have not had a veteran leader at the position. With Wright, Las Vegas is getting one of the NFL’s unsung heroes over the last several seasons. Consistently ranked as one of the best linebackers in the league by the media and players, Wright only has one Pro Bowl nod in his career. Regardless, he lets his play do the talking and that is exactly the kind of player the Raiders need.
Adding a player of Wright’s caliber this late in the season is incredibly rare. For this team, it further bolsters a defense that looks to be much improved in 2021. Not only will Wright provide a valuable presence on the field, but he also has a wealth of knowledge already on coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme. Wright could very well be the piece that elevates the Raiders defense out of the dumpster and puts the team squarely in the playoff hunt.
*Top Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports