The Seahawks filled two needs in the NFL Draft by selecting players from one school – the Utah State duo of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and running back Robert Turbin.
Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin were walking out of a class at Utah State last fall when the conversation turned to the inevitable: Their imminent NFL careers.
And who could blame them. Wagner was the leading tackler for the Aggies, while Turbin was in the process of fashioning a 1,517-yard, 23-touchdown season. The NFL wasn’t just calling this productive duo, it was screaming.
“We talked for like an hour about what we were going to do when we got to the NFL,” Wagner recalled this week, cracking the slightest of smiles. “We didn’t know we’d end up here together. I just knew that no matter which team he went to I was going to root for him, and he was going to root for me.”
The Seahawks selected two players from the same school in the 2012 NFL Draft, but it wasn’t the first time the franchise has double-dipped. Far from it, as this chart indicates:
Year School Player (Round)
2012 Utah State LB Bobby Wagner (2), RB Robert Turbin (4)
2009 Oregon C Max Unger (2), DE Nick Reed (7)
Rutgers QB Mike Teel (5), S Courtney Greene (7)
LB Will Herring (5), WR Courtney Taylor (6)
2004 Purdue LB Niko Koutouvides (4), DT Craig Terrill (6)
1996 Florida OG Reggie Green (6), DE Johnie Church (7)
1992 Appalachian St. S Gary Dandridge (5), DT Mike Frier (7)
OG Kris Rongen (11), LB Chico Fraley (12)
1988 Miami WR Brian Blades (2), DE Derwin Jones (10)
S. Carolina St. TE Robert Tyler (8), CB Dwayne Harper (11)
1986 Florida FB John L. Williams (1), DE Alonzo Mitz (8)
1983 Penn State RB Curt Warner (1), OG Pete Speros (10)
1981 Penn State OG Bill Dugan (3), TE Brad Scovill (7)
BYU WR Scott Phillips (4), RB Eric Lane (8)
1979 Jackson St. DT Robert Hardy (10), RB Jeff Moore (12)
1978 Memphis St. DB Keith Simpson (1), LB Keith Butler (2)
1977 Boston College OL Tom Lynch (2), LB Peter Cronan (2)
Tulsa OL Steve August (1), DT I.V. Wilson (12)
1976 Florida LB Sammy Green (2), TE Alvis Darby (6)
Georgia Tech WR Steve Raible (2), OG Jeff Unczyk (16)
Miami DB Ernie Jones (5), FB Larry Bates (5)
Georgia OG Randy Johnson (4), RB Andy Reid (13)
As it turned out, these two would end up sharing more than a first name and an alma mater. The Seahawks selected Wagner in the second round of the NFL Draft to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot that open when three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne signed with the New Orleans Saints in free agency. The club then added Turbin in the fourth round, to supply the physicality required in the running game on those occasions when leading-rusher Marshawn Lynch needs a breather or can’t play.
“We’ve talked about that, too; just how crazy it is that we ended up in the same spot,” Wagner said. “We’re going to try and put Utah State on the map.
“I don’t think we could have asked for it to turn out any better.”
It’s not that unusual for the Seahawks to double-dip in the draft. They’ve selected players from the same school in 13 other drafts, starting with their inaugural draft in 1976 when they selected pairs of players from four schools in the 17-round process. They also doubled up on the double-dips in 2009, 1992, 1988, 1981 and 1977 (see chart).
It is, however, something else to come out of one draft with two players from same school who are as good as Wagner and Turbin – and fill definite needs the way they do. The last duo to have an immediate, as well as lasting, impact came from Memphis State in 1978. Keith Simpson, the first-round pick, would start for four seasons at safety and then cornerback. Keith Butler, the second-round pick, would start for nine seasons and become the franchise’s all-time leading tackler by the time he left after the 1987 season. Twenty-four seasons later, he still ranks No. 2 behind Eugene Robinson.
“Bobby and Robert were both players that we identified as players that can help the Seahawks,” director of college scouting Scott Fitterer said. “They were very productive players in college, and then they fit our scheme. We liked them as athletes and all the physical traits about them. But when we put them through the filter, they fit what we do – from a physical standpoint and a character standpoint.”
So far, that fit as been better than good.
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