By Bill Swartz
While pass rusher Bruce Irvin and quarterback Russell Wilson grabbed much of the attention during the Seahawks’ 2012 draft, you could argue Bobby Wagner might be the most important rookie in training camp. His speed and tackling instincts could elevate an already solid defense to a different level.
The Utah State product spoke about his learning process after a second full-pads practice at Seahawks’ training camp on Tuesday.
Bobby Wagner is vying to be Seattle’s starting middle linebacker. (AP)
“It’s crazy and physical, because it was competition Tuesday,” he said. “We just tried to get after it and make plays, you know, lots of picks and sacks.”
The soft-spoken Wagner walked the talk with an interception during 11-on-11 drills.
Coach Pete Carroll has been anxious to see whether Wagner can make the quick transition from college to the faster professional game.
“I like his attitude, he’s calling the huddle on every snap, and he’s doing just fine,” Carroll said. “That’s the first thing I looked at from the linebackers on film. Is he stepping up and hitting guys, doing things you want linebackers to do? There was no hesitation at all.”
Wagner played both outside and insider linebacker in college. He’s expected to battle veteran Barrett Ruud for the starting middle linebacker job. Ruud has been limited so far as he recovers from a knee injury.
Wagner appreciates the support network he’s receiving from more experienced teammates.
“I have a lot of guys like K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill helping me and pointing me in the right direction,” he said. “I’m just trying to learn the defense as fast as I can and [linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr.] is helping me out.”
Wagner has heeded Norton’s best advice: be humble.
“I feel like every day is a game,” he said. “Every time you come out to practice, someone is trying to win a spot. If you come here asleep, somebody might take your job. You can’t have that happen.”
Wagner welcomed a day off on Wednesday to process all of the new information. The Seahawks resume training camp at 10:15 a.m. Thursday with practice open to the public.