The visit potentially is only procedural because Wagner did not attend the Scouting Combine due to a bout of pneumonia, so teams like Green Bay need to do their medical checks. However, Wagner never missed a game in college and has a clean injury report. Moreover, teams are allowed to host only 30 visits. Given A.J. Hawk's mediocre season and high salary, the Packers potentially could pounce on Wagner in the second round. He also could play outside, according to a source, even though he wasn't used often as a pass rusher in college.
Wagner had a brilliant career, finishing with the fourth-most tackles among active players in the Football Bowl Subdivision. His size (6-foot, 241 pounds) is the only thing keeping him from the first round.
Here is his profile from NFL Draft Report's Dave-Te' Thomas:
The consensus among professional scouts is that Wagner is one of the most physical open-field tacklers in the collegiate game. He is also one of the most versatile, having started at three linebacker positions for Utah State. That versatility creates a pleasant problem for NFL teams as he's proven to be highly effective no matter where he lined up on the football field.
Wagner is the classic high-motor type of wrap-up tackler, blessed with an incredibly rock-solid frame. He is active in run force, thanks to his core strength, balance and impressive reach that has allowed him to record a fair share of pull-down and arm tackles. He is mature in his approach when searching out ball-carriers in a crowd and the type that quarterbacks can't even dare to try and fool with misdirection or play action.
The linebacker's power base makes it difficult for lead blockers to widen the rush lanes when he enters the gaps. Even with his power, he utilizes his strong, quick hands for cross-over moves when slipping past slower offensive lineman to impact the backfield and pressure the pocket. He is alert to blocking schemes and is quick to break down in apace and close in an instant when given a free lane to the quarterback.
Throughout his career, Wagner has been known for his durability, as he's never missed even one play because of an injury. That is why it was a bit ironic that this emerging talent, coming off a sensational senior campaign and then putting the cherry on the sundae with an outstanding performance throughout the week-long practices prior to the Senior Bowl, would be forced to miss one of the most important events for an aspiring football player — the NFL Scouting Combine.
After the Senior Bowl, Wagner traveled to Arizona to begin training for the Combine. Prior to leaving for the event, the linebacker was hospitalized in Scottsdale, Ariz., with pneumonia and was advised by a doctor there not to travel to Indianapolis. He was later discharged after spending a few days in the hospital, but needed a few weeks to recover.
Still, scouts and league executives can look at Wagner's body of work and impressive game films as his resume shows a player who has recorded 446 tackles, tying Travis Lewis of Oklahoma for the fourth-highest total of stops among NCAA Football Bowl Sub-division active players. That figure also set the school and Western Athletic Conference career records.
With three 100-plus tackle campaigns under his belt, Wagner is one of just three players to lead Utah State in tackles three times in a career. His career-best 147 tackles as a senior is the fifth-best season total in Utah State annals. He has ranked among the nation's tackle leaders in each of the last three seasons, leading the conference since 2009 while placing 22nd in the FBS ranks as a sophomore (9.5 tackles per game), seventh as a junior (tied with 11.08 tpg) and eighth in his final season (11.31 tpg).
When Wagner joined the Utah State program in 2008, he was assigned jersey No. 40, checking in at 210 pounds. After two games playing in a reserve role, he took over left outside linebacker chores for the final nine contests. He finished sixth on the team with 51 tackles (20 solos) with two stops for loss and a pair of pass deflections. It was a bitter-sweet campaign for the Aggie as his mother, Phenia, passed away shortly after the season concluded.
As a sophomore, he changed jerseys to his high school number (9) and shifted to the middle, starting all 12 contests at right inside linebacker. Now playing at 232 pounds, his legendary bone-jarring hits would soon follow. He led the Western Athletic Conference with 115 tackles (53 solos) and paced the Aggies with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused two fumbles and had two pass thefts on the way to earning All-WAC honors.
In 2010, Wagner was again named All-WAC first-team accolades, becoming the first Utah State player to earn league first-team honors in consecutive seasons since receiver Kevin Curtis in 2001-02. He registered a team and league-best 133 tackles (61 solos), making eight of those hits in the opponents' backfields. He broke up four passes, recovered a fumble and even saw brief action on offense, catching one pass for 11 yards.
The 2011 season was perhaps Wagner's finest. He not only recorded a career-high 147 tackles (67 solos), but he became the first player in history to lead the league in tackles three-straight seasons. He added All-WAC and All-American recognition, as he also tallied four sacks and for the second time as an Aggie, led the unit with 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also had two interceptions.
Wagner started 46-of-48 games at Utah State – 21 at strong-side outside linebacker and 25 at weak-side inside linebacker…Recorded 446 tackles (201 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus-35 yards, 29.5 stops for losses of 80 yards and eight quarterback pressures…Recovered three fumbles and caused two others…Deflected seven passes and intercepted four others for 51 yards in returns…Also caught a pass for 11 yards…Ranks tied for fourth among active NCAA players for total tackles, placing eighth in that group for solo stops and second for assisted hits…His 446 tackles tied the school career record theld by Del Lyles (1988-91), becoming only the fourth player in Western Athletic Conference history to record over 400 tackles, as he broke the league all-time record of 443 tackles by Robert Rodriguez of Texas-El Paso (2001-04)…His 147 tackles as a senior rank fifth on the school season record chart and are the most by an Aggies player since Tony D'Amato set the record with 170 stops in 1998…His 147 tackles placed seventh on the conference's annual record list…His 20 tackles vs. Louisiana Tech in 2011 tied for ninth on the WAC game-record chart.
An All-American Dream Team choice by The NFL Draft Report, Wagner was an honorable mention selection by Phil Steele…The three-time All-Western Athletic Conference first-team choice by the league's coaches and media, he was also named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year by The NFL Draft Report and College Sports Madness…One of 30 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) student-athletes selected as a candidate for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for excellence both on and off the field…Called the "Hardest Hitter" in college by The Sporting News, the weak-side inside linebacker became the first player to ever lead the conference in tackles three consecutive seasons and is one of four to accomplish that feat at Utah State, as he registered a career-best 147 tackles (67 solos), which rank fifth on the school's and seventh on the league's season-record chart…Also finished eighth in the nation with an average of 11.31 tackles per game, as he paced an Aggies unit that led the WAC in total defense (366.23 ypg) and placed second in rush defense (127.27 ypg)…Added a career-high four sacks for minus 32 yards and led the team for the second time as an Aggie, with 11.5 stops for losses totaling 41 yards, tying for eighth in the WAC ranks for 2011…Credited with four quarterback pressures, as he recovered a fumble and intercepted two passes for 19 yards in returns…Recorded at least 10 tackles in nine contests.
2011 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Wagner began the season with the first of five consecutive games with at least 10 tackles, as he had 10 hits, including eight solos with a 5-yard sack (first full sack for his career) and two stops for loss vs. Auburn…Delivered 10 more tackles vs. Weber State and was in on 18 tackles (8 solos) with a pair of pressures vs. Colorado State…Produced 11 stops vs. Brigham Young and totaled 12 tackles while returning a pass theft 18 yards in a 63-19 rout of Wyoming…Delivered 20 tackles with two sacks, 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Louisiana Tech, as his 20 hits are tied for ninth on the WAC game-record chart…Made 12 tackles with three coming in the backfield vs. San Jose State and picked off another pass while coming up with 11 tackles and a stop for loss vs. Idaho…Named WAC Defensive Player of the Week vs. Nevada, as he was credited with a game-high fifteen tackles in Utah State's 21-17 win that enabled the Aggies to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1997. Wagner also recovered a fumble that came on a fourth-and-1 play from the Utah State 12-yard line with just over five minutes left in the game to help preserve the victory. He moved up to second place on the school's career tackles list with 433…Followed with a season-low six tackles, but one of those stops was an 11-yard sack vs. New Mexico State…Closed his career with seven tackles (5 solos), including a stop for a 2-yard loss vs. Ohio University in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Wagner became the first Aggie since Kevin Curtis (2001-02) to earn back-to-back first-team league honors, as he was chosen to the Western Athletic Conference's postseason squad after the left outside linebacker led the league and team while finishing tied for seventh in the nation with an average of 11.08 tackles per game…Produced 133 tackles (61 solos) with an assisted sack for minus-3 yards, ranking second on the squad with eight stops for losses of 15 yards…Had a quarterback pressure, a fumble recovery and four pass break-up…Recorded at least ten tackles in seven games…Also saw brief action on offense as a tight end, catching an 11-yard pass vs. Idaho while coming up with 16 tackles, including one for a loss and a pass deflection…Had ten tackles that included an assisted sack among his two stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Idaho State…Followed with a seventeen-tackle performance vs. Fresno State and delivered 12 stops (11 solos) that included 1.5 hits for loss vs. Brigham Young…Registered fifteen tackles at Louisiana Tech and posted 17 tackles along with a stop in the backfield vs. New Mexico State.
Wagner took over weak-side inside linebacker duties, as the All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection switched jerseys to his high school number (9) en route to leading the team and WAC with an average of 9.5 tackles per game, totaling 115 hits (53 solos) that included a team-best eight stops for losses of 22 yards to go with two quarterback pressures…Recovered one fumble and caused two others…Deflected one pass and gained 32 yards on a pair of interceptions…Recorded at least 10 tackles in six contests…Named Academic All-WAC after the season…"It feels really good to be honored as one of the top players in the conference," Wagner said. "This is a great honor because we're recognized for all the hard work we did in the offseason."…Wagner's 115 tackles rank as the second-most by a USU sophomore, as Johndale Carty holds the top spot with 138 stops as a sophomore in 1996…Wagner is the first sophomore to lead USU in tackles since David Gill's 89 stops led the 1994 Aggies…His 115 stops is the most by an Aggie defender since Robert Watts tallied 118 tackles in 2003.
Wagner played in 11 games, starting the final nine contests at left outside linebacker, finishing sixth on the team with 51 tackles (20 solos) that included two stops behind the line of scrimmage, a quarterback pressure and two pass break-ups.
No injuries reported.
4.68 in the 40-yard dash…1.63 10-yard dash…2.64 20-yard dash…4.28 20-yard shuttle…11.46 60-yard shuttle…7.13 three-cone drill…32 ?-inch vertical jump…9'5" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times…33 3/8-inch arm length…9 3/8-inch hands…78 1/8-inch wingspan.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.