JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Where Seahawks stand at LB and CB ahead of Week 1 opener

Sep 3, 2021, 3:47 PM
Seahawks linebackers...
K.J. Wright is gone, but the Seahawks return LBs Bobby Wagner and Cody Barton. (Getty)
(Getty)

The K.J. Wright story is finally over. He signed a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders and become the sixth player to reunited with former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Related: Longtime Seahawks LB K.J. Wright to sign with Las Vegas Raiders

There has always been hope in Seattle and from the players on the team he would sign with the Seahawks. Nothing worked out. Wright was a great player, a great leader and was coming off perhaps his best season. Players voting for the NFL Network’s Top 100 had him in the top 100 at No. 67. Until he signed Thursday, he was the only top 100 player who didn’t have a job.

The Seahawks simply went a different way at linebacker despite losing Ben Burr-Kirven to an ACL injury. They could have brought in K.J. and used him as a strongside linebacker and sometimes used Cody Barton as a backup middle linebacker. They have also gotten two good games in the middle linebacker from Nick Bellore.

The deciding factor would seem to be the emergence of Darrell Taylor. Taylor can play strongside outside linebacker and defensive end. Jordyn Brooks played some strongside linebacker last year but he only played 32 percent of the defensive snaps. Most teams play nickel more than 65 percent of the snaps and that is going to be the case for the Seahawks this year.

In the meantime, some fascinating news has developed at cornerback. This week, the Seahawks moved D.J. Reed from right to left cornerback and it looks as though he’s going to be the starter. Ahkello Witherspoon, who signed a $4 million guaranteed contract, has been traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It sounds as though Tre Flowers won the right cornerback job because of his great training camp.

What also will be interesting to see is what they do with Sidney Jones, who came to the Seahawks in a trade with Jacksonville for a sixth-round pick in 2022. He will work the right side but he also should compete for time as a slot cornerback. The Seahawks have to decide between Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair at nickel. They also have Tre Brown as a cornerback option.

The Seahawks have the numbers at corner. Now, they have to see how good they can play at corner.

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