There is another competition going on behind the scenes that basically no one is paying any attention to. All the news about this little corner in the states lately about the Seahawks have been about the QB controversy. The three way battle between the incumbent, the new comer, and the rookie. Everyone is poised to see just who Pete Carroll is going to choose to be the leader of this franchise this year.
Last year, the linebackers were the weak link on the field for the defense. Not to say they were the weakest, but they were definitely weak. Aaron Curry (5 games, 22 tackles) started out the year for Seattle, and was soon shipped off to Oakland. Rookie LB K.J. Wright (16 games, 65 tackles), a fourth round pick, stepped in and held up better than what Curry, the 4th overall pick, did. Over on the other side, Leroy Hill threw together a decent season, racking up 89 tackles and 4 sacks. In the middle, David Hawthorne (15 games 115 tackles) was a mediocre MLB.
After the end of the season last year, Pete Carroll recognized that the linebackers group was sluggish, and needed alot of work. It had already been given a minor workover after the Seahawks shipped Curry out to Oakland, but Carroll still wanted more. Free Agency took hold of David Hawthorne, and it landed him down in Lousiana, into a role with the Saints. K.J. Wright, will continue to hold down one of the outside linebacker spots. Leroy Hill managed to get himself into more trouble, and while the charges were dropped, he signed a one year contract to keep him here in Seattle. Free Agency brought in one of the candidates for the competition: Barrett Rudd. The other part of the competition was drafted this year, his name? Bobby Wagner.
Name Ht./Wt. 40 time Bench Press Vertical 3 cone Rated #
Barrett Ruud 6’2″ 241# 4.75 25 34 1/2 7.22 2 of 57
Bobby Wagner 6’0″ 241# 4.46 24 39 1/2 7.10 4 out of 135
*All these stats compiled from NFLdraftscout.com
Ruud was drafted in 2005 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and played with them, only missing one game until 2010. In 2011, Ruud played 9 games for the Tennessee Titans before being put on the Injured Reserve with groin problems. He is currently undergoing recovery from the groin, as well as knee and shoulder injuries.
“We’ve got to get him healthy first, he’s coming back from all of that,” said Pete Carroll, per Seahawks.com, adding, “He is working out and doing a lot of stuff, but we’re going to be very careful in bringing him back.”
Rudd said “I’ve played a lot of football, and I know how to play and I can still play at a high level. I feel great now and should be healthy in another month or so. Hopefully, I can be a big part of the team.”
While Ruud is taking the time to recover, Wagner has been getting alot of snaps with the first team. Its not something he is unfamiliar with. Wagner was a star at Utah State, calling all of the plays for the defensive unit. He started 33 out of his 35 games played, and amassed 446 tackles.
“This is Pete Carroll’s kind of linebacker,” said Mike Mayock of NFL.com. ”He’s been a fast riser. He tested extremely well, and he’s a big linebacker. This guy is also a four-team special teams player, so you get that production from him, too. He can be explosive for them.”
While the QB controversy is in full swing, and reporters from all around the world are trying to figure out just who is going to lead the Seahawks on offense, one of these two players will lead the Seahawks on defense. Pete Carroll has showed that he is not afraid to throw in rookies, and allow them to blossom on the field. He is also smart enough to know when there are better players on the field, to let them sit and learn for a year, in best regards for the team.