If Seattle Seahawks fans heard a week ago that starting linebacker Bobby Wagner would sit out the first two preseason games, most of them would think that veteran special teams captain Heath Farwell would fill in. It’s certain that the last person they would expect to start would be an undrafted rookie out of the University of Montana.
Brock Coyle, one of the surprises of training camp thus far, has started the past two weeks at middle linebacker. Not only has he started, but he has performed well, tackling with great technique and staying in his lane more times than not. With five tackles in his first preseason game against the Denver Broncos, Coyle added another eight tackles Friday night in his first game in front of the Seahawks home crowd.
More importantly, he has been a regular on special teams, which is how young players like Coyle make rosters.
Perhaps what has impressed coaches the most is how Coyle has commanded the defensive huddle. On most teams, it’s rare for a rookie, especially an undrafted one, to come in and earn the respect of teammates so quickly. Seattle is known to be a team full of players with chips on their shoulders. Current Seahawks Russell Wilson (third round), Doug Baldwin (undrafted), and Richard Sherman (fifth round) were overlooked by scouts because they didn’t fit the prototype for players at their respective positions.
In a band of misfits — who just won the Super Bowl, by the way — Coyle fits right in. Montana’s leading tackler the past two seasons was originally expected to be a middle-round pick. However, Coyle was passed on by every team during the 2014 NFL draft, eventually being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seahawks.
Now he is on a mission to prove to every other team that passed on him that they made a huge mistake. That chip-on-the-shoulder mentality is the epitome of the Seahawks, and is what has made the team so successful over the past two seasons. After being overlooked by every other team, Coyle is in the perfect place to realize his potential.
Wagner is the starter, but Coyle has a promising future. Considering he just started his first two professional games, he’s off to a good start, and should make this talented Seattle roster.