Seahawks get a linebacker: Bobby Wagner

RENTON, Wash. -- Suspicions confirmed: The Seattle Seahawks were indeed trading back in the second round to avoid selecting a linebacker ahead of the market.

Seattle, after trading back four spots in the second round to No. 47, selected Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner in that slot. One other linebacker, Mychal Kendricks of California, went off the board in the interim, landing with Philadelphia at No. 43. Kendricks was the first conventional linebacker selected in the round (pass-rushing outside linebackers fall into another category for our purposes here).

The trade-down made sense as long as the Seahawks did not strongly prefer Kendricks to Wagner. They come from the same physical mold: about 6 feet tall, around 240 pounds and fast. Wagner ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at his pro day. That showed he had recovered from the illness that prevented him from participating in the combine.

Seattle came into this draft needed a pass-rusher and a linebacker. Those were its top two needs, in my view. The Seahawks selected pass-rusher Bruce Irvin in the first round before taking Wagner, and added additional picks before selecting both.

Wagner can play inside linebacker or outside linebacker. His speed and attacking style make him a natural for a special-teams role as a rookie. He'll presumably have a chance to compete for a starting job as well.