After moving down a few spots in the NFL draft, the Seahawks used their second-round pick Friday on Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wagner, who is listed at 6-foot, 241 pounds, can play middle linebacker, which is a need for the Seahawks with David Hawthorne now in New Orleans. Though he is versatile enough to play outside as well, and the Seahawks have said they would be comfortable using K.J. Wright at middle linebacker instead of strongside if that’s the best fit for the team.
Eric Stokes, the Seahawks assistant director of college scouting, said the plan will be to have Wagner start out playing middle linebacker, but that he is versatile enough to play outside as well.
Stokes referred to Wagner, who ran a 4.46 second 40-yard dash at his pro day, as “a big-time upgrade athletically” for the Seahawks, and while he didn’t single out Hawthorne, that’s likely what he meant.
Wagner, who is from Ontario, Calif., led Utah State in tackles three times in his career, including 147 as a senior. He said he has no preference between middle linebacker and outside, and asked what he does well, he simply answered, “make tackles.”
A late bloomer — Wagner didn’t start playing football until his junior year in high school — Wagner didn’t have offers from any big programs, which is how he ended up at Utah State.
“I got a late start on football, and Utah State was the only school recruiting me,” he said. “Everybody else was telling me that I (stink). So I went to the school that recruited me… . I’m used to people saying I can’t do something, then I prove them wrong and then kind of throw in their face a little bit.”
Before picking up football, Wagner said he “thought I was going to be the next Michael Jordan.”
At Utah State, Wagner became a four-year starter and with impressive showings at his pro day and the Senior Bowl, he solidified himself as a legit NFL prospect. Wagner did not, however, attend the NFL Scouting Combine. It wasn’t because he wasn’t invited, but rather because he came down with pneumonia a few days before the Combine. He was so sick, he said, that he threw up so violently as to burst a blood vessel in his eye (sorry if anyone was eating while reading this).
As of now, the Seahawks are schedule to be up again at pick No. 75, but obviously as we’ve seen in the past two rounds, that could change. Stay tuned.