In last year’s NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks took a chance on a little-known young linebacker out of Utah State named Bobby Wagner in the second round. I think it’s safe to say at this point that the pick was an excellent decision. While everyone knows that Russell Wilson had an incredible rookie year, it may have actually been Wagner who had the best rookie season on the team.
In his first season in the NFL Wagner came in and not only won the job of starting middle linebacker, but he ended up leading the entire team in tackles with 140. He also added three interceptions and two sacks to his strong statistical line. His impressive debut season nearly ended with him winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, but that honor went to fellow rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers. Wagner stepped up in a big way as a rookie and became a great leader despite being one of the youngest players on the team, and he will be looked upon to do the same this coming season.
In order for the Seahawks to maintain their dominant defensive success, Wagner must have another great season. Whether he likes it or not, he is now the leader of a defense which led the NFL in fewest points per game allowed last season. He will have to help keep players in check as the Seahawks have had their fair share of trouble off the field this offseason, and he will have to help new faces like Antoine Winfield and Cliff Avril get acclimated to the new team.
If I had to make a prediction for what kind of production Wagner will have this year, I’d say he will have about 150 tackles with maybe four or five interceptions and four sacks. If he can put up numbers like those, he should finally gain the recognition he deserves as one of the league’s elite linebackers.
Follow Connor Hutyler on Twitter @ConnorHutyler.