#8 – Bobby Wagner

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.

The Seahawks just traded Barrett Ruud for a conditional (read:  7th round) draft pick to the New Orleans Saints because it looks like The Heater is lost for the season and they’re short on depth at Middle Linebacker.

Another way to read that would be:  the New Orleans Saints gave a bunch of money to a guy with injury concerns, then traded for another guy with injury concerns because the first guy with injury concerns got injured; meanwhile, the Seahawks are high on the hog with draft pick after draft pick that has hit big.  In fact, the Seahawks are so confident with the young players they’ve got, they’re willing to toss aside any and all veteran loose ends for whatever crappy draft picks you’re willing to offer.

This is what it feels like to have a front office that knows what it’s doing.  Treasure it.

The Seahawks have a 4th round draft pick playing outside linebacker and now they’ve got a 2nd round draft pick playing middle linebacker.  For good measure, they’ve got a 3rd rounder in Leroy Hill as well.  Good teams develop their own talent; they don’t try to poach from other teams when players have already passed their primes.

I was a little wary of spending such a high draft pick on something as easy to plug as linebacker, but I suppose you have to spend a little more capital when you’re talking about the middle linebacker position in a 4-3 defense.  You need a guy with smarts, with instincts, with hard-hitting ability.  And, it appears we have that with Bobby Wagner.

Thus far, after two pre-season games, I have yet to hear a bad thing about Wagner.  He doesn’t have any turnovers or anything massive; but he makes the tackles he’s supposed to make and that’s all I really care about right now with a rookie middle linebacker.  Be in the spot you’re supposed to be in and make the plays when they come to you.

The Seahawks have had a number of high-profile middle linebackers over the years; some (Lofa) better than others (The Boz).  Wagner doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’s going to be going to a million Pro Bowls (unless this defense really does make the leap to #1 in the NFL, in which case just about everyone will be going to Pro Bowls).  But, he does strike me as a solid, dependable guy.  Someone who won’t make all the flashy plays, but will make most of the regular plays to be effective.

What he can’t be is a total and complete dud.  We’ve handed him the starting job as a rookie to be the quarterback of this defense.  I know it’s not all on his shoulders; K.J. Wright is going to help with the calls.  But, what we don’t need is another Aaron Curry debacle.  We may have enough depth to jettison a guy like Ruud, but that doesn’t mean I’m all that thrilled about the prospects of a Heath Farwell as our starting MLB.

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