Seattle Seahawks

A Bobby Wagner backup? Source: Seahawks to work out Oregon State LB Manase Hungalu

A league source tells The News Tribune the Seahawks are going to work out 2017 Oregon State inside linebacker and senior captain Manase Hungalu before this month's NFL draft.
A league source tells The News Tribune the Seahawks are going to work out 2017 Oregon State inside linebacker and senior captain Manase Hungalu before this month's NFL draft. Getty Images

For a couple years now Pete Carroll has talked about wanting younger, more-quality depth behind Bobby Wagner.

Could that come from Oregon State?

A league source told me Carroll's Seahawks will be conducting a workout with departing Beavers inside linebacker Manase Hungalu. Seattle's session with Oregon State's captain from last season is scheduled to take place in these last couple weeks before the NFL draft.

Each NFL team is permitted by league scouting rules to host up to 30 prospects for visits prior to the draft. But coaches and scouts can work out an unlimited number of players away from the team headquarters each offseason.

Hungalu had 87 tackles for the Beavers as a junior in 2016. He had 97 tackles, six for a loss, with two interceptions in a sideline-to-sideline senior year last season. He had a Pac-12 game-high 20 tackles against California in November.

Many consider Hungalu a late-round draft choice or likely to be signed into the league as an undrafted free agent. The Seahawks have been among the teams with the most undrafted free agents not just on an NFL roster but contributing in recent years.

For those into draft measurables: The 6-foot-1, 238-pound Hungalu ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in Corvallis, after he wasn't invited to the league's scouting combine last month. That 40 time would have been the 17th-fastest of all linebackers, the inside and the fleeter, outside ones, at the combine. Hungalu's 21 reps bench pressing 225 pounds at his Pro Day would have tied Washington's Keishawn Bierra and others for sixth-most for linebackers at the combine. Hungalu's 32 1/2-inch vertical leap would have been eighth-highest among combine linebackers.

Seattle tried veterans Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin some at middle linebacker behind the All-Pro Wagner in its 4-3 defense in 2017. The Seahawks let Wilhoite's and Garvin's one-year contract expire without re-signing them following last season.

Wagner pulled his hamstring in the third quarter of a loss at Jacksonville in early December. When it was third and 11 in that game and Seattle needed a stop late to give its offense a final chance to win, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette ran for 13 yards off left tackle. Carroll and safety Earl Thomas said after that game a linebacker overran his assigned gap allowing Fournette to romp free. Wilhoite was in at middle linebacker for Wagner at the time.

Wagner played the next week against the Rams while severely limited. Wagner's value—and that of having a young, healthy, capable backup for him, if need be—showed up big time that day when the Rams boat-raced the Seahawks in Seattle 42-7 to decisively win the NFC West.

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