As the Jaguars continue to rebuild the defense, I am a firm believer that speed and athleticism needs to be injected to the middle of the defense. The bulk has been added to the interior of the defensive line and developmental pass rushers have added. The next step has to be to add athletic linebackers that can anchor the center of the defense for the Jaguars.
K.J. Wright boasts plenty of athleticism in his 6’3, 246 pound frame. The three year starter as a Bulldog is expected to run a 40 yard dash in the 4.6 range. For perspective, Aaron Curry, who was drafted 4th overall by the Seahawks in 2009 and topped the boards of many draftniks, ran a 4.52 40 time after measuring in at 6’2, 254. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if a strong combine showing catapulted Wright’s draft stock.
The likely reason why K.J. Wright will be probably available in the 3rd round or later come April was a disappointing amount of production. Through 47 games, Wright accumulated 254 tackles and 0 interceptions. Curry, alternatively, tallied 320 tackles and 6 interceptions during his college career. In Wright’s defense, he had to adjust to four different defensive coordinators during his four years at Mississippi State. Regardless, the lack of impact plays has to be concerning for a team that will invest an early pick in him.
Also contributing to his lack of big plays are his struggles to get off blocks. He does a good job of maneuvering his way through gaps and through blockers, but when someone gets their hands on him he can be eliminated from a play. It’s not a lack of physicality as he can deliver a big hit, it’s that he plays too straight up and allows the leverage to be had by the opposition.
Based on athleticism and talent alone, K.J. Wright is a prospect that will be considered early and could become a starter right away, but there is some risk associated with taking a player that struggled to dominate at a lower level of play.