The Seahawks have selected Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner with their first pick in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, shortly after trading back four spots with the Jets to pick up an extra 5th and 7th round pick. What they get in Wagner is an athletic, rangy, and versatile linebacker that can play either the MIKE or WILL linebacker spot. He was the MVP of the Senior Bowl with seven tackles and an interception, and at Utah State was a four-year starter, two-time captain and three-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection.
He played all three linebacker positions at Utah State, and his versatility is something that the Seahawks really value. The Hawks said that they wanted to get faster on the front seven and they certainly have with their first two picks. After picking up the most explosive defensive end on the board, Bruce Irvin, with their first pick, they grabbed a 6'0, 241 pound linebacker that ran the 40 in a blistering 4.46 seconds at his pro day. Wagner is an explosive athlete in his own right, registering a 39" inch vert, a ridiculous 11" broad jump, he bench pressed 25 pounds 24 times, and ran a 7.09 in the three-cone drill at his pro day.
Here's NFLDraftScout's take on Wagner, and we'll follow up with a lot more soon.
Read and react: Instinctive defender who is aggressive to slip through cracks and stop the running back in the hole. Good patience. Doesn't commit too soon showing the ability to break down in space, wait for the ball carrier to commit and closing quickly for the reliable stop.
Run defense: Good balance and strong, long arms for the pull-down tackle while engaged in a block. Shows good patience and then closes quickly in the hole. Looks to slip blocks with quick hands rather than forcefully taking them on and shedding with violence.
Pass defense: Cognizant in coverage. Showed better-than-expected fluidity and instincts in coverage during the Senior Bowl practices. A bit heavy-footed and was occasionally beaten to the flanks or down the sideline, leaving questions about whether he has the speed to play outside in the NFL.
Tackling: Wraps his arms on most tackles to bring ball carriers to a quick stop. Good lateral and downfield pursuit.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Experienced pass rusher with enough burst to slip by offensive tackles and enough power to blow through running backs left in pass protection. Shows good effort but only a moderate feel for rushing the passer. Allowed to loop around to find favorable matchups, on occasion, but relies too much on speed and bull rushes rather than using any real technique.
Intangibles: Possesses a thick build with impressive overall musculature. Intelligent and dedicated. Capable of contributing early in his career.