Russell Wilson may be the most important player in Seattle. But Bobby Wagner is the best player on the Seahawks in 2018. Here’s why.
Bobby Wagner became the best linebacker in the NFL about four years ago. He is currently still that and also the best player on the Seahawks roster. He isn’t the most important; That would be Russell Wilson. But Wagner is not far behind Wilson in importance either.
In 2018, Wagner will be expected to become a lot more vocal on and off the field. The focus of the Seahawks defense has gone from the secondary to the linebackers. ESPN and Pro Football Focus named Seattle’s linebacker group as the best in the NFL. And there is no doubt a big reason for this is the greatness of Bobby Wagner.
According to PFF, Wagner was the highest graded linebacker in 2017. And it wasn’t close. Wagner’s grade of 96.7 was 2.5 points higher than second best Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. David’s grade was 94.2. Third best was Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers at 93.9. Wagner cemented his place as the best linebacker in football last season.
But this was no anomaly. In 2014 Wagner missed five games. Seattle, while still having Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas during that time, gave up 20.4 points per game in those that Wagner missed. The last six games after Wagner’s return, the Seahawks gave up just 6.5 points per.
Against the Los Angeles Rams in week 14 last year, Wagner was clearly injured. Wagner was playing with an injured hamstring and couldn’t use his speed. Thomas didn’t think he should have played and Wagner thought differently. The simple fact is, Wagner even injured is still much better than whomever Seattle tries to play in his absence.
And don’t even try to get away from Wagner when he is tackling you. Just go down. In the last two years, Wagner has 12 missed tackles. 12. And this in 239 attempts.
Wagner is a four-time Pro Bowl player in six seasons. He was named AP first-team All-Pro in 2014, 2016 and 2017. And he received a vote for NFL MVP in for his 2014 season.
Bobby Wagner may not be the most important player on his team. That nod will always go to a team’s quarterback. But Wagner is simply the best player on the Seahawks roster in 2018. And thank goodness he is under contract through 2019. Seattle should already be looking to sign the 28 year-old linebacker to an extension. He deserves it.