With the departure of linebacker David Hawthorne leaving a sizable hole in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks defense, the organization addressed the need by selecting Utah State's Bobby Wagner in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, the athletic and productive former Aggie may be thrust into a high-leverage situation early in his rookie campaign.
According to Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune, Wagner worked with the first-team defense as the unit's middle linebacker on Saturday, between outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill.
The team signed veteran MLB Barrett Ruud on April 6 with the intention of giving him the brunt of the responsibilities at the position. But the 28-year-old is battling an array of injuries including the groin, knee, and shoulder. After missing seven games due to injury in 2011, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll noted that the team will be careful with him during recovery.
While Wagner was projected to take on an early role in nickel packages as a rookie, he will state his case to be the full-time replacement for the now-New Orleans Saint David Hawthorne — a player who seldom came off the field.
Hopes for the 6'1″ 235-pound youngster are high, as Wagner put together a stat-filled collegiate career in Logan, compiling 445 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and four interceptions.
The coaching staff certainly wanted its young linebacker to get on the field early, but it will be interesting to see how the three-year starter fares if he is plugged in from day one.
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