LINEBACKER BOBBY WAGNER
WHEN DRAFTED: 2012, 2nd round, 47th overall
COLLEGE: Utah State
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 2012-present.
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Seahawks fans know the story well — Pete Carroll had known Wagner since high school, when he was recruiting current Denver Bronco Omar Bolden to USC, and remembered Wagner four years later when the second round of the draft rolled around.
The Seahawks, though, were wowed by Wagner’s speed.
“He can play all three linebacker spots if we want him to,” Seattle GM John Schneider said on draft day 2012. “We’re going to put him in the middle and take that spot right there and see how he does. Great athleticism, great explosive athlete and the fact that he’s been so consistent with his production, and he’s got a chip on his shoulder, too, we like that about him.”
Said Carroll on draft day:
“He’s played all across the board. He’s played on the edge, he’s played inside and at all positions that we need him to play and it was an easy evaluation in that regard. He’s played so much football. He’s been a big time producer there. He’s 240-plus pounds and he’s really fast and he’s a very explosive athlete, and he’s a natural athlete, too, moving in space and do the coverage things that he’s got to do. He’s a good man-to-man cover guy as well. He can do everything. So now we’ve just got to see if we can fit him in and how quickly he can adapt. He’ll have good help on either side of him with guys that know what we’re doing. We will utilize K.J. [Wright] calling signals and stuff like that – we won’t put that on him [Wagner] right off the bat and we’ll bring him along in that regard and see how that goes.”
It’s gone pretty well. Wagner stabilized the middle almost immediately, giving Seattle a linebacking corps that may be underrated given the attention given to the secondary.
Wagner ranks third in tackles among all players drafted in 2012 with 174, trailing only Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David (who was taken just after Wagner with the 58th overall pick) who has 218, and Carolina’s Luke Kuechly (taken in the first round with the ninth overall pick) with 199.