One year before the Seahawks drafted linebacker Bobby Wagner, they drafted linebacker K.J. Wright. Wagner is still there, but Wright is now gone.
Wagner was impressed with what he saw from Wright during his debut with the Raiders.
“The 34 actually looked better than I thought,” Wagner said of Wright and his homage (intentional or not) to Bo Jackson. “He had a really, really good play on that fourth down which I don’t think people realize how good of a play that was. That’s not where he was supposed to be, but he’s just so smart that he knew the ball was going in that gap. You can see as soon as he motions, you saw him kind of get up and shoot the gap. I was like, ‘Dang he used to do that with us all the time.’ Sure wish it was still going on, but the business side of things gets in the way.”
Indeed it did. Wright was available through the offseason. The Raiders signed him late in the game, at a time when any team (including the Seahawks) could have had him.
The business side of things got in the way in part because of all the money that’s being paid both to Wagner and to quarterback Russell Wilson. Few could have imagined when they both were drafted in 2012 that they’d be among the best at what they do. And Wagner still remembers that most didn’t believe in them.
“Every pick the Seahawks made that year was just being kind of bashed,” Wagner said of the team’s 2012 draft class. “At the end of the draft, we all saw they gave us an ‘F.’ They basically told us what we couldn’t do from that moment, so when we walked in, it was cool to see somebody that was mentally where I was at in trying to prove the doubters wrong. He’s only grown from that point. When I watched him walk into the building and I saw how he carried himself, I knew he was going to be the starter. It was only a matter of time. I know they had signed Matt Flynn, but it was only a matter of time. He was preparing like a starter, he was acting like a starter, and he was acting like somebody that anybody wanted to follow.”
He’s been the leader of the Seattle offense since then, and Wagner is now the leader of the defense. Although the Seahawks possibly would be better off if they still had Wright, it definitely helps that they still have both Wilson and Wagner.