The Seattle Seahawks announced on Tuesday that second-round pick Bobby Wagner is the starting middle linebacker after the team traded Barrett Ruud to the New Orleans Saints on Monday.
The Seahawks picked up Ruud as a veteran presence and insurance in case Wagner didn't progress well in training camp, but the Utah State product opened enough eyes the team felt they didn't need Ruud anymore.
Field Gulls ranked Wagner as the second-best rookie on the team saying he is putting together a solid showing and staying closely on the ball after an exhibition win against the Denver Broncos.
Wagner showed the discipline to stay in his gap on this play, and trust in the guys on the edge to close the deal, when he could've over-pursued to the outside (a common rookie mistake).
The few criticisms against Wagner come with experience issues, bound to be a common problem for a rookie. But his athleticism and natural ability help him make up for mental mistakes made.
Carroll praised his rookie linebacker last week, and he figures to try and get as many reps in for Wagner as possible this preseason.
"You can see that all of the potential is there," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I said to Bobby (Wednesday), 'I just want you to show that you're confident and okay, you can attack more, and don't worry about making mistakes, you're going to make some.' I want to see him really play a hard-nosed game this week. ... He's going to be a fine player there is no question about it."
Ruud was traded for an undisclosed draft pick, which is contingent on him making the New Orleans Saints roster.
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