Best player No. 8 for the Seahawks

In the continuing countdown of the top 12 players for the Seahawks entering the 2014 season, this is the glue that holds it all together on the Seattle defense. He’s the mild-mannered man in the middle, the stalwart who makes the players around him better.

No. 8: Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner -- As I wrote Super-Bowl weekend, Wagner is overshadowed by a defense with big talkers, big dancers and big hitters. But the Seahawks wouldn’t have been the No. 1 defense in the league without him.

Wagner suffered a bad high-ankle sprain early in the season and tried to come back too soon. It briefly affected his play, but from November on, he was a rock.

From the start of November, Wagner had at least eight tackles in every game, including 10 or more tackles in four outings. He had 15 tackles in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers.

Wagner had 34 tackles in the three playoff games and finished the regular season with 120 tackles, including five sacks. He also had two interceptions and seven passes defensed.

Interesting stat: Wagner is only the third player is franchise history, joining Terry Beeson and Lofa Tatupu, to record more than 100 tackles in his first two seasons. He set a franchise record for a rookie with 140 tackles in 2012.

Contract status: He’s a steal for the Seahawks with a deal that pays him $1.2 million in 2014, his third NFL season. He will make $1.3 million in 2015.