How in the world did the Seattle Seahawks get so close to advancing to the NFC Championship Game last season with a rookie at the “heart and soul” positions on offense and defense?
Everyone knows the Russell Wilson story. He was the “too short” third-round draft pick who won the job in training camp over the expected free agent signee starter, Matt Flynn, and became the franchise quarterback this organization has been deprived of for too long.
Defensively, Bobby Wagner is the man in the middle of Pete Carroll’s 4-3 defense for the Seahawks. This position is also one of leadership. While the great pass rushers of the NFL and shutdown corners are some of the highest wage-earners, nobody can dispute the importance of the middle linebacker as one of the main leaders of a defense.
Again, in Seattle last season, this position of leadership was earned by a rookie.
Wagner finished second to Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers in defensive rookie of the year voting. Kuechly totaled 164 tackles from his middle linebacker position, while Wagner had 140 stops. Kuechly added a sack and two interceptions while Wagner had two sacks and three picks. Either way you look at it, both franchises are sitting pretty when it comes to having young tackling machines to lead their defense.
The Seahawks are fortunate to have great players like Wilson and Wagner to lead their respective offensive and defensive units for the next decade.