Former Utah State and current Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner poses for a photo with young Aggie/Seahawk fan during Saturday’s Blue vs. White Spring Game in Logan.
SALT LAKE CITY — Though Utah and BYU traditionally place more football players in the NFL than the other colleges in the state, neither of them can boast having the league’s highest-rated player.
That honor goes to the program some claim is currently the best in the Beehive State.
Utah State, of course.
Bobby Wagner, who dominated for the Aggies from 2008-11 before being drafted in the second round, is ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. The Seattle linebacker has made the Pro Bowl four times since 2014.
“Wagner finished the year ranked first in overall grade (91.9), coverage grade (90.4) and run-defense grade (91.8) among qualifying off-ball linebackers in 2018. Only two off-ball linebackers in the PFF era (2006-18) have earned 90.0-plus marks in all three facets: Wagner in 2018 and (Carolina’s Luke) Kuechly in 2015. Wagner also missed just one tackle across 140 attempts this past season,” ProFootballFocus.com wrote this week.
“Though Kuechly isn’t too far off the Seahawks phenom, Wagner takes the cake for top off-ball linebacker in the NFL right now coming off one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen at the position.”
The No. 1 player is making a habit out of being named PFF’s top guy going into the season. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is listed first for the third year in a row.
Quarterback Tom Brady is ranked No. 2 despite being 41 years old.
Neither BYU nor Utah have a player ranked in the PFF Top 50.