Based on the latest ESPN positional rankings, Seattle Seahawks star Bobby Wagner is still the gold standard for NFL linebackers. ESPN ranked Wagner as their No. 1 linebacker as the site “asked more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 positions.” NFL executives cited Wagner’s ability to cover tight ends as one of his many strengths.
“I know he’s old and been around, but the guy has just got great instincts to go with speed, and when you have that, you can dominate,” said an AFC exec…
“Damn good player,” said an NFC scout. “That’s all there is to say.”
Wagner had 159 tackles, three sacks and an interception during the 2019 season. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that there is some perception that Wagner may not be quite as sharp as he was his first few NFL seasons, but not enough for him to lose the top linebacker ranking.
“Some evaluators say he has lost, eh, a quarter-step, and that 2019 wasn’t Wagner at his best,” Fowler explained. “But his fastball is still better than everyone else’s, and he has averaged nearly eight passes defended per season since 2017.”
Wagner Called the Seahawks Draft Picks to Welcome Them to Seattle
The Seahawks used their first-round selection to land Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll indicated that Wagner was one of the first players to reach out to Brooks and along with several other rookies.
“We’ve got good players inside that we love,” Carroll noted, per Seahawks.com. “We’ve got Bobby and K.J. and we love what they’ve done. We’ll give this guy a chance to see where he can fit in. We’ll work the competition so that we can uncover exactly what’s best. We really think that he’s got a chance to be fighting for playing time right away. Cody Barton did a great job for us last year, so it’ll be a very competitive situation, just like we like. Jordyn is all about competition, he’s got a great head on his shoulders. I really like that he has a lot of respect for Bobby and K.J. He knows of them and he’s followed them and he’s looked up to those guys. The first call I got was from Bobby, he wanted his (contact) information so he could get to him right away. We always need to get faster and get tougher on defense, no matter what spot we’re talking about, and Jordyn fit that perfectly. We’re really excited to add him to our defense.”
Wagner Is Trying to ‘Find the Positive’ in the Quarantine Life
Wagner signed a three-year, $54 million contract with the Seahawks in 2019 and continues to be the leader of the defense. The offseason has been unique with all the Seahawks’ meetings taking place virtually. Back in May, Wagner discussed his quarantine routine with ESPN’s Mina Kimes noting he was trying to “find the positive” in what has been a challenging time.
“I work out, then I read, do some business stuff, chill with the family,” Wagner explained, per Seahawks.com. “I feel like we always ask for a moment to kind of freeze the world and be able to focus on things, so I’m kind of using it like that. It’s an unfortunate way—I wouldn’t have wanted it to come this way, but I’m just trying to find the positive in it.”