Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was an All-WAC performer for the third straight season a year ago, will miss the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine with pneumonia, according to a report by Fox Sports via Bleacher Report. The 6’1″ 232-pound senior had 147 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions last season for the Aggies.
The Ball Says: The illness is certainly a blow to Wagner, who’s draft stock had been on the rise after being named North team MVP at the Senior Bowl. As things stand today he’s predicted to be a second round pick by FOX, while ESPN has Wagner as their fourth-ranked inside linebacker in this year’s draft class.
Wagner’s certainly not the biggest “name” on the board at his position or the most athletic prospect inside this year, but much like James Laurinaitis or Luke Kuechly Wagner has a great “feel” for football, strong instincts, and a motor without an “off” switch that more than compensates for his lack of elite speed or quickness.
Unless Wagner lands in an ideal spot such as with the Philadelphia Eagles it’s hard to see the youngster having more than IDP LB3 value in redraft fantasy football leagues, as it’s likely that he would begin his time in the NFL as a two-down player (if he does indeed start).
His dynasty value is a fair bit higher however, as while Wagner may never be a top five fantasy linebacker it’s not hard at all to imagine him developing into a fine IDP LB2 within a year or two, especially should he find himself in a favorable situation.