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Utah State Linebacker has Visited with the Ravens

According to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times, Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has taken a visit with the Baltimore Ravens. As one of the many prospects that have come to town for a visit at "The Castle", Wagner’s visit seems to indicate something bigger on the Ravens’ draft radar as we draw closer to the start of this year’s draft: the Ravens are targeting linebackers.

A few days ago it was reported that the Ravens brought in Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks for a visit with the team, and now that they have visited with Wagner, it would seem to indicate that the Ravens are hoping to select one of the many linebacker prospects in the upcoming draft, maybe earlier in the draft than some may have expected.

As a four-year starter, Wagner’s all-time stats are as follows: 446 tackles/29.5 tackles for a loss/4.5 sacks/3 fumbles recovered/4 INTs. Standing at 6-0 241 lbs., Wagner is listed as an outside linebacker but during his time at Utah State, he also played at inside linebacker displaying great versatility, something the Ravens absolutely covet.

(After the "Jump", see more on Wagner)

Wagner’s production has steadily increased throughout his four-year collegiate career and this past season alone garnered: 147 tackles/11.5 tackles for a loss/4 sacks/2 INTs. Wagner was a 3-time All-Western Athletic Conference player and was elected as the Most Outstanding Player for the North team during this year’s Senior Bowl.

Although Wagner missed the NFL scouting combine due to pneumonia, he bounced back big at his pro day and performed extremely well:

40-yard dash: 4.46 and 4.47 seconds

Vertical leap: 39.5 inches

Broad jump: 11 feet

225 lbs. bench press: 24 repetitions

Wagner, although perhaps a bit undersized, is a tremendous athlete. Known for his high-motor and solid tackling, Wagner has the ability to line up in either the middle as an inside backer or on the outside as a pass-rusher. One of the biggest upsides about Wagner’s game is his incredible speed while in coverage and chasing down ball carriers from behind, something the Ravens desperately need at the linebacker position. With several run-stoppers already on the roster, the Ravens need a linebacker that can help in pass coverage in an effort to take away teams’ tight ends or opponent’s shiftier slot receivers; generally someone who can cover the short-intermediate passes over the middle of the field and Wagner fits that mold.

Other than the Ravens, Wagner has visited with several teams around the league, including: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Cleveland Browns. Currently, Wagner is projected to be taken between the 2nd-3rd round(s) of the 2012 NFL draft later this month.