It appears that K.J. Wright’s job is safe for now. He held off 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks in a training camp position battle to start at WILL linebacker.
But Brooks’ time will come. Maybe his role will be sparing as a rookie, but the Texas Tech product was drafted by the Seahawks to be the team’s WILL linebacker of the future. And as far as Bobby Wagner is concerned, Brooks’ NFL career is off to a fantastic start.
“I think from the moment he walked in, I think he’s grown every day,” Wagner said on Wednesday. “I’ve been really impressed. He’s been flying around, especially in some of the mock games that we had. He was flying around and making plays. I feel like whenever his number his called that he’ll be ready.”
There’s potential for the dynamic in the linebacker room to be a bit awkward. Wright has been a nine-year starter in Seattle’s defense. He and Wagner are best of friends and two of the most prominent leaders in the team. With Wright entering the final year of his contract, there’s a possibility that 2020 will be his final season in Seattle.
But Wagner unsurprisingly brushed that notion aside.
“I don’t think it’s weird. Me and K.J. have been around long enough to know it’s a business,” Wagner said. “My whole goal is to help somebody feed their family. That’s my mindset. Jordyn is no different. I’ve given him all the knowledge that I have. Any question that he has for me, I’m helping him.
“Same with K.J. … We want to see everybody win. At the end of the day, it’s still bigger than football.”
It’s still a delicate balance for Brooks to find. He’s a first-round pick with pressure to live up to that billing. He’s also a rookie behind two of the most productive linebackers in franchise history, forcing him to the line between humbly learning from Wagner and Wright while still expressing his own confidence that he’s capable of doing the job.
To that end, Wagner had some fun at Brooks’ expense.
“As a rookie you should just be quiet all the time,” Wagner said half-jokingly. “Rookies should never say anything. As long as you’re a rookie and you’ve got an ‘R’ in front of your name, you should just never speak and just listen to your vets.”
And has Brooks been able to meet those expectations?
“For the most part. We’re still coaching him up,” Wagner said, smiling.
Brooks will likely spend most of Sunday’s game on the sideline. But it’s positive nonetheless that he’s gotten an early stamp of approval from his future running mate in the middle of the Seahawks defense.