It wasn’t too long ago that Kendall Wright was considered a legitimate bust. In fact, many people this preseason were labeling him just that. While “bust” is a very strong and damning word, it’s easy to see where people were coming from.
Wright has only had one full season out of four, the lone 16-game season coming in 2013. When he’s been on the field, the consistency has been lacking. For a player taken with the 20th overall pick, one hopes for game-changing ability. A first round receiver needs to command defensive attention and make plays at all levels of the field. Wright seemed to get phased out of games from good defenses. He would have big games, but follow them up with clunkers.
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All that said, I don’t think he has been given a fair shake in Tennessee. He had to endure a horrid carousel of inefficient starting quarterbacks through his first three years. When he finally got a good quarterback in Marcus Mariota last year, they weren’t able to be on the field together as often as they’d both liked. Due to injuries to both of them, they were only able to play together in seven out of 16 games. Wright missed six games in total.
The inability for those two to play together was crippling for the offense. They struggled to move the ball and create big plays in the passing game. We’ve seen much of that this year. Wright’s receiving profile makes the entire offense better. He’s a burner, but one that can reel in tough passes that erase inaccuracy. He hasn’t been used as a downfield threat in his short NFL career (mainly because of his quarterbacks), but he was a vertical stretcher in college.
Wright is three years removed from a 94 catch, 1079 yard season. He caught six touchdowns the year after. It’s been apparent that the Titans current receivers can’t threaten defenses in ways that are needed in order to move the ball and score points. Getting Wright back into the fold is going to be more important than many people think. Many have written Wright off, but I expect him to make an immediate impact starting this Sunday.