Following yet another impressive performance by Bobby Wagner last season, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said of his teammate and fellow team captain, "Bobby Wagner is the best in the business and what he does, and he has been that for years."
That's about as accurate of a description as one can make of Wagner, the Seahawks middle linebacker who has earned first-team All-Pro honors three of the last four years (he was second-team All-Pro in 2015), and who has been a four-time Pro-Bowl selection. Wagner earned more recognition for his standout play on Monday when he checked in at No. 21 on the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2018, his third time appearing on that list.
Wagner finished the 2017 season with 133 tackles, including a career-best 97 solo tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and six passes defensed. Those numbers likely would have been even more impressive had Wagner not played through a pretty significant hamstring injury for several weeks late in the season, never missing a start despite not being able to practice at times. Prior to that injury, Wagner's was being mentioned as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Wagner now has recorded more than 100 tackles in each of his six NFL seasons, giving him 778 in his career, one short of Joe Nash for third on the franchise's all-time list.
Already one of the team's leaders for several years, Wagner figures to only see that role grow in 2018 with several veterans on the defense moving on to other teams this offseason.
"Bobby really has been the voice of our defense for years, so this just accentuates his opportunity and his role," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said earlier this offseason. "… Bobby Wagner is as good of a leader as you could ever hope for. He has done everything in terms of consistency and production and toughness and mentality, everything about him."
Wagner is the fourth Seahawks player voted onto the Top 100 list so far this year, joining receiver Doug Baldwin, who was 99th on the list, safety Kam Chancellor, who checked in at No. 75, and safety Earl Thomas, who was No. 42 on the list.
Here's the full list of players unveiled this week:
30. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills, RB
29. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons, QB
28. Chandler Jones – Arizona Cardinals, LB
27. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals, WR
26. Cameron Jordan – New Orleans Saints, DE
25. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers, QB
24. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs, TE
23. Patrick Peterson – Arizona Cardinals, CB
22. A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals, WR
21. Bobby Wagner – Seattle Seahawks, LB