A happy, if underrated, birthday to Bobby Wagner

Posted Jun 27, 2014

Friday is Bobby Wagner’s 24th birthday, but he has played beyond his age in putting up consistent and versatile numbers in his first two seasons as the Seahawks’ middle linebacker.

Since being selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Bobby Wagner has been a middle linebacker for all seasons – and all reasons.

He has been the Seahawks’ leading tackler in each of his first two regular seasons, producing a club rookie-record 140 in 2012 and another 119 during last season’s run to the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. In the postseason, Wagner also led the team in tackles in 2012 and tied for the lead last season.

His resume also includes seven sacks and five interceptions during the regular season and 51 tackles in five postseason games.

He recorded a regular-season career-high 14 tackles in a 2012 upset of the New England Patriots, and had 15 in January’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. In 34 starts, including playoff games, Wagner has had 10 or more tackles 12 times and another 16 with at least eight tackles.

Despite all the stats, and all the respect from his teammates, Wagner doesn’t get enough credit around the league – in large part because he has done all this on a defense that includes the All-Pro trio of free safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor; Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith; and a line that features Brandon Mebane, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.

But connect the consistency and versatility of Wagner’s numbers and it creates a picture of a player who should get more credit that he does – but also the image of the perfect player to lineup in the middle of a Seahawks defense that led the NFL in average points and yards allowed last season.

Here’s another stunning number: 24. That’s how old Wagner turns on Friday.

“He’s grown so much,” Thomas has said of Wagner the player. “He’s learned how to harness that speed. This guy is one of the most athletic guys we have on this team and just to see him run from sideline to sideline is special.

“This guy has learned to get off blocks, use his arms more and really have that feel and rhythm. He’s hitting that constantly now. He’s a more consistent, reliable and impact football player.”

And Friday, he’s another year older, too. So we wish a happy, if underrated, birthday to Bobby Wagner.