Third-round QB Russell Wilson stole all of the headlines at Seahawks rookie mini camp because head coach Pete Carroll said he will compete with Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson this summer for the starting quarterback job.
While everyone was busy writing their ledes about Carroll's surprising proclamation, a similar sentiment about Seattle second-round pick, LB Bobby Wagner, went mostly unnoticed.
Carroll complimented just about everything about Wagner's game except his hitting, which can't be evaluated in the non-contact practices. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Nick Eaton also reports Carroll made it clear that Wagner is in the mix to start in the middle of the Seahawks defense, with Leroy Hill and KJ Wright at the outside spots:
The Mike spot is wide open and we have to see what happens. This is what Bobby [Wagner] is putting his sights on, but we’ll have to see how it goes.... Bobby is going to get a heck of a chance. We’d love to see him and get that speed on the field if we could. It’s really rare to find a linebacker that runs that fast and that’ll show up in all different phases of our game. But he’s got to do it. He’s got a long ways to go before he can take that on.
Carroll tempered his enthusiasm at the end of his quote and also pointed out that free-agent pickup Barrett Ruud has six years of experience starting in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's system, starting when the two were together in Tampa Bay.
If Wagner does win the job, he won't have to call the defensive plays, something he hasn't done since high school, according to 710 ESPN's Liz Mathews. The Associated Press reports that KJ Wright, who started as a rookie last year, will get that responsibility, according to Carroll. Carroll said Wright is "really good" at calling the plays, but that Wagner could take over that part of the job over the course of the season if he is playing a lot.
Linebackers coach Ken Norton said he was "really excited" about Wagner and called the team "very happy" with Wagner's "first impression," according to Mathews.
If Wagner can perform well enough in camp and preseason to beat out Rudd and Matt McCoy, the speed he adds to the Seahawks defense should create even more excitement and happiness among the Seahawks faithful.