#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.

Seattle Seahawks Draft Russell Wilson, Other Guys

Before my website took a huge shit in the bed, rolled around in it, then walked over and gave me a big, sloppy bear-hug, I was going to cover the Seahawks’ draft pretty extensively, as only a blogger can:  lots and lots of posts.

Instead, I’m going to grab some dinner, watch an episode of the Simpsons, and try to knock this out in one big clump.

Here’s the list, for those who like lists:

  • First Round – Bruce Irvin (DE)
  • Second Round – Bobby Wagner (MLB)
  • Third Round – Russell Wilson (QB)
  • Fourth Round – Robert Turbin (RB)
  • Fourth Round – Jaye Howard (DT)
  • Fifth Round – Korey Toomer (LB)
  • Sixth Round – Jeremy Lane (CB)
  • Sixth Round – Winston Guy (S)
  • Seventh Round – J.R. Sweezy (G)
  • Seventh Round – Greg Scruggs (DT)

Let’s just start with the bottom picks and work our way back.  Scruggs and Howard you have to figure were drafted to be defensive line depth.  With the importance of the big men along our line (guys like Mebane, Branch, and of course, Red Bryant), you really can’t have enough depth behind them.  For the purposes of rotation as well as for injury insurance.  I know nothing about either of them except that they come from bigtime college football schools, so good for them.

In keeping with that “depth” theme, you have to figure Lane and Guy are little more than Special Teamers at best.  Safety, when we’re healthy, has to be the best position on this team.  And, quite honestly, corner isn’t all that far behind.  Still, Trufant is an old man, so if either of these guys can play nickel corner, so much the better for them.

J.R. Sweezy is an interesting 7th round pick (if such a thing can exist).  You always sit up and take notice whenever a team looks to draft a guy and immediately switches his position.  Jameson Konz comes immediately to mind as a somewhat recent draft pick who has switched; though, truth be told, he was drafted more as an “athlete” than as a member of any single position.

Korey “It’s Not A” Toomer (I really hate myself right now) is a linebacker.  As a fifth round pick, you can’t immediately dismiss his chances of making an immediate impact, as Schneider and Carroll have proven fifth rounders are very real commodities.  And we all know Linebacker is a position of great need.

Yes, the Seahawks signed a couple of veterans.  Leroy Hill is back in the fold.  Barrett Ruud was signed to potentially be a veteran presence in the middle.  Matt McCoy is also back, but he’s really more of a special teamer than any kind of threat to start on this defense.

On the whole, you have to figure K.J. Wright is the only guy certain of a starting position going into this season.  I like Hill’s chances to start opposite him, but if one of our younger pick-ups proves to be adept, Hill could very well get his walking papers before the preseason is over.  And Ruud is a critical injury risk who shouldn’t be counted on for much of anything.

Especially considering the Seahawks went out and committed the Cardinal Sin of drafting a middle linebacker before the 3rd round.  You gotta figure Bobby Wagner is going to get every opportunity to win himself a starting job on this young, up-and-coming defense.  While 2nd round picks don’t have quite the cache of 1st rounders, they’re still more often than not players you can pencil into your starting lineup (unless they’re blocked by a proven veteran, which Wagner is not).

One of the two picks I’m particularly excited about (with Irvin being the other one) is Robert Turbin.  I kinda had a feeling the Seahawks might draft a running back in the third round, but the fourth is pretty close.  Why am I excited about Turbin?  Have you seen his guns???

Whichever way the beach is, it's absolutely awe-inspiring ...

I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve got a little chub going on down there!

Dude runs a 4.5 40, has a 36 inch vertical, and he bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times!  If this guy isn’t an absolute wrecking ball, then I’ll eat my hat!

Of course, Beastmode is my guy, and I hope he stays healthy and productive throughout the life of his contract.  But, Turbin getting 5-10 carries a game will CERTAINLY raise our running game’s overall profile a great deal.  He’s going to do all those things Forsett couldn’t.  Like create his own holes, run defenders over, and absolutely destroy the seams of any long-sleeve shirt he tries to put on.

Excuse me, I need a minute.

That just leaves our two marquee names.  I’m already on record as liking the Bruce Irvin pick.  I’ll just add a couple more points to my argument.

People are saying it’s foolish to draft a guy who is only one-dimensional.  A guy who will only play a third of the downs.  To that I reply:  what exactly is that one dimension, again?  That’s right, that would be pass rushing.  We didn’t select the best defensive end in the draft, we selected the best PASS RUSHER in the draft.

Now, what was the one aspect on defense last year that we were lacking?  Oh, THAT’S RIGHT, a pass rush!  Sure, we had Chris Clemons, but we ONLY had Chris Clemons.  This guy, if he becomes as reliable as Chris Clemons has been for us in the two years since we traded for him, then he will DEFINITELY be worth the first round draft pick.

We didn’t NEED to draft a well-rounded defensive end who can play against the run.  We had one of those guys before and we gave him away for peanuts; remember Lawrence Jackson?  Yeah, did you REALLY want to see the Seahawks draft another Lawrence Jackson?  Another widebody who will eat up space and rarely get close enough to even blow kisses on the other team’s quarterback?  Because I sure as shit didn’t!

I will be absolutely elated if Bruce Irvin plays a third of our downs this year.  Because that means we’re forcing teams into a lot of 3rd down situations.  And because, Jesus Christ, he’s a fucking ROOKIE!  Cut him some slack!  He hasn’t even stepped foot onto the football field and we’re already making ultimatums!

Guys drafted at the 15th overall spot aren’t exactly slam dunks, all right?  Those other ends we passed on, there’s no guaranteeing that they’ll be anywhere near as good as people projected them to be!  At least with Irvin, we know he has a skill:  he’s fast.  Everything else:  technique, you can teach; size & strength, you can have him bulk up; savvy, that comes with the experience of playing the game.

Sure, he might only be playing a third of the downs NOW.  But, in a couple years, when we rid ourselves of Chris Clemons, he should be poised to take over on an every-down basis.  Then, we’ll see.  We’ll see whether the nay-sayers are right or not.

Finally, there’s Russell Wilson.  Quarterback from Wisconsin.  For a while there last year, he was in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy.  He threw for over 3,000 yards, with nearly a 73% completion percentage, 33 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.  He led his team to a Big Ten championship and came within seven points of the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

And, if you added another 3 inches of height, you’d be talking about a Top 5 NFL Draft Pick.  MAYBE even the number one overall pick in any year that Andrew Luck didn’t come out.

People are flabbergasted about this pick.  Honestly, I don’t know why!  John Schneider comes from an organization that was CONSTANTLY drafting quarterbacks!  You want to read some intelligent football analysis?  Read the TMQ.  His pre-draft column is particularly insightful for his section on quarterbacks.

The quarterback is the most important position on your team.  Therefore, if you don’t have a Sure Thing (like an Aaron Rodgers, a Drew Brees, a Tom Brady, etc.), then there is no EXCUSE for you to NOT take a quarterback!  And, just because you drafted a quarterback last year, or because you brought one in via free agency (like we did with Flynn), that doesn’t mean you just STOP!  We don’t know what we have with Flynn!  We think he’ll be pretty good, but you never know.  You never know about ANYONE!

Aaron Rodgers could get his leg snapped in half in Green Bay’s first preseason game and be out for the year.  So, would it be a bad idea to draft for some depth before that becomes a reality?  And if you have a recent draft pick already on your roster, is a little competition a BAD thing?

No way.  The Seahawks have Matt Flynn, projected starter.  They have Tarvar, projected backup.  And they have Josh Portis, projected Practice Squad Guy.  Just because Josh Portis wowed some of us in a few preseason snaps last year doesn’t automatically earn him that coveted third string slot on the team!

Yes, I know, the height.  Height is always an issue.  Look at the numbers, the odds are astronomically against this kid!  Just like they are for 5’8 point guards in the NBA.  But, every so often, an Isaiah Thomas breaks through and makes a name for himself.  It takes someone strong of will, strong of character, strong of heart, and strong of brains.  You’ve got to have the drive to put in hours upon hours of practice, the focus to watch hours upon hours of tape.  And you’ve got to have the same skill as any number of people taller than you, so you can say, “If I was taller, I’d be a Number 1 pick.”

What’s the difference between Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin, III?  About three inches, and that’s it.

I like the move.  Depth and competition.  The Seahawks don’t have NEARLY as many holes as a lot of fans like to believe.  Pete Carroll and John Schneider have filled the bulk of those holes over the last two offseasons.  Now, it’s all about creating depth and competition.

Fight for those jobs, Seahawks!  Fight for your very lives!