Ricky Wagner is yet another OL draft prospect from Wisconsin. Unlike others before him, his money is made in pass protection. The durable Wagner is one of the higher ranked senior prospects in this draft and has the ability to start as a rookie.
Wagner was not highly recruited at all and took a redshirt season in 2008. Appeared in 12 games as a freshman and started 10 at RT as a sophomore. Earned honorable mention Big 10 last season after starting 14 games at LT. Named to the Outland Trophy watch list this preseason.
Grade: 1st Round
- Impressive size
- Very strong
- Displays good initial quickness
- High situational awareness
- Gets to the second level smoothly and with some quickness
- Holds his ground
- Sits firm in his stance and uses his long arms well in pass protection
- Shows good hand placement
- Once he stops the initial move of a defender, does a great staying engaged.
- Strong and active hands
- Comes from a school in producing NFL talent lineman
- Less than ideal lateral agility. Trouble mirroring quicker DEs
- Does get high at times in pass protection, leaving his susceptible to the pass rush
- Doesn’t block his defenders off the screen in the run game
- Needs to play with more of a mean streak
- Must sustain his leverage and latch onto defenders in the run game.
I like Wagner as a RT prospect and he has the ability to start in the NFL from day 1. Very long and displays good technique and hand placement in pass protection. Lateral agility is not where you wanted it as a junior, so that’s something to keep an eye on this season. Once he’s engaged, defenders will not work their way out of the block. For the most part does an excellent job stopping the initial rush move from a DE, but real quick speed rushers can beat him to the corner at times.
He has the ability to play some on the left side, but his game just doesn’t scream franchise LT. Would like to see him play with more of a mean streak in the run game and become more assertive when run blocking. Leaves a lot to be desired on his initial contact when the ball is run behind him. Does a great job blocking on the second level, but his initial contact can be weak at times.
If he can be more consistent in the run game, Wagner will solidify himself as a 1st round OT. You know what you’re going to get with lineman from Wisconsin – hard working, blue collar, tough, and fundamentally sound. I would grade Wagner a tick below former Badger Gabe Carimi at this point in his career.
Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports