With the 60th pick in the SB Nation NFL writer's mock draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Utah State outside linebacker Bobby Wagner. "Who?" many of you might blurt out after reading his name. Trust me, had Wagner played at a more visible school in one of the major conferences, his name would have been called early in the first round. Here's what I wrote in justification of my selection:
"The knock on Utah State’s Bobby Wagner is is smallish height (6’0", 241 lbs), but his body of work on the field speaks for itself. He is a four-year starter, two-year captain and three-time All-WAC Conference selection. A 40-yard dash in the 4.4-4.5 range with a 39.5" vertical leap proves this guy plays bigger than he actually measures. Any doubt whether he could play with the boys in the bigger conferences was dispelled when he was named the defensive Most Outstanding Player of the North team in the 2012 Senior Bowl with seven tackles, one for loss and an interception. Other than a bout with pneumonia which caused him to miss the Combine, Wagner has been injury-free in his collegiate career. The Ravens have been watching him closely, going to his pro day as well as bringing him to Baltimore for further review. With the loss of OLB Jarret Johnson to free agency and ILB Ray Lewis not getting any younger, this guy looks to be a fixture on the Ravens great defense for years to come."
(Click on the link above to go to the story on Mocking The Draft and read part of the player profile on Wagner after the 'Jump' from the league's 2012 NFL Draft Page on the NFL Media site)CAREER NOTES
Wagner started 46-of-48 games at Utah State – 21 at strong-side outside linebacker and 25 at weak-side inside linebacker...Recorded 446 tackles 201 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus 35 yards, 29.5 stops for losses of 80 yards and eight quarterback pressures...Recovered three fumbles and caused two others...Deflected seven passes and intercepted four others for 51 yards in returns...Also caught a pass for 11 yards...Ranks tied for fourth among active NCAA players for total tackles, placing eighth in that group for solo stops and second for assisted hits...His 446 tackles tied the school career-record that was first set by Del Lyles (1988-91), becoming only the fourth player in Western Athletic Conference history to record over 400 tackles, as he broke the league all-time record of 443 tackles by Robert Rodriguez of Texas-El Paso (2001-04)...His 147 tackles as a senior rank fifth on the school season-record chart and are the most by an Aggies player since Tony D’Amato set the record with 170 stops in 1998...His 147 tackles placed seventh on the conference’s annual record list...His 20 tackles vs. Louisiana Tech in 2011 tied for ninth on the WAC game-record chart.
An All-American Dream Team choice by The NFL Draft Report, Wagner was an honorable mention selection by Phil Steele...The three-time All-Western Athletic Conference first-team choice by the league’s coaches and media, he was also named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year by The NFL Draft Report and College Sports Madness...One of 30 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) student-athletes selected as a candidate for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for excellence both on and off the field...Called the "Hardest Hitter" in college by The Sporting News, the weak-side inside linebacker became the first player to ever lead the conference in tackles three consecutive seasons and is one of four to accomplish that feat at Utah State, as he registered a career-best 147 tackles (67 solos), which rank fifth on the school’s and seventh on the league’s season-record chart...Also finished eighth in the nation with an average of 11.31 tackles per game, as he paced an Aggies unit that led the WAC in total defense (366.23 ypg) and placed second in rush defense (127.27 ypg)...Added a career-high four sacks for minus 32 yards and led the team for the second time as an Aggie, with 11.5 stops for losses totaling 41 yards, tying for eighth in the WAC ranks for 2011...Credited with four quarterback pressures, as he recovered a fumble and intercepted two passes for 19 yards in returns...Recorded at least ten tackles in nine contests.