Scouting Report written by: Jimmy O'Brien
Wagner is a good sized, athletic, versatile linebacker, used at Utah State on the inside, outside, as a stand-up rusher, and in coverage downfield; he was a true “joker” moved all around the formation. He displayed excellent speed, agility, and explosiveness not only on the field, but also in drills at Utah State’s pro day workout, where he put on an impressive show in every test. He was consistently productive as an Aggie, and was his squad’s player of the game at the 2012 Senior Bowl, where he played multiple positions, and looked fluid in space while making multiple tackles on special teams. At the next level, he projects best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, where he can maximize his athletic ability outside on the edge. He needs to develop more pass rush moves, and feel in zone coverage, but his total package make him an attractive pick in the draft’s second round.
Against the run, he sets and holds the edge well, and plays downhill, flashing the ability to make plays in the backfield. As an inside rusher, he’s adept at making himself skinny in the hole, shooting the “A” gaps to pressure the quarterback; here, he displays good burst, as well as patience on delayed blitzes. Rushing from the outside, he has solid “get off” at the snap, with speed to turn the corner, and the flexibility to dip the inside shoulder without sacrificing balance; from off the edge, he succeeds largely due to raw athleticism. In coverage, he’s experienced, and demonstrates effective straightline speed, with the lateral agility and strength required to match up with tight ends at all levels of the field.
As an inside linebacker, he’s slightly undersized – he will aggressively take on blocks, but doesn’t shed consistently, and can get engulfed by offensive linemen. When rushing from the inside, his bullrush is easily controlled by offensive guards, and he demonstrates an overall limited pass rush palette. He can struggle in coverage versus running backs in man situations. And he doesn’t display a feel for route progressions in zone coverage, but this may be more a result of him being continually moved around the field, without being afforded the opportunity to settle into one position.