Undrafted rookie Brock Coyle to start at middle linebacker for Seahawks

Getty Images

With Malcolm Smith ailing with a groin injury and Bobby Wagner still out with turf toe, the Seahawks have once again had to reshuffle their linebacker group.

Undrafted rookie Brock Coyle is set to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. The move to put Coyle in the lineup bumps K.J. Wright back out to his weak-side linebacker position. Wright had started the last two games at middle linebacker for Seattle after Wagner went down turf toe against Dallas.

“It’s his position to lose. He can mess it up by a bad week and change our mind,” linebacker coach Ken Norton said of Coyle.

“We were pleasantly surprised with Brock and his performance this summer throughout the camp and preseason. He stepped in when Bobby was out then and he’s going to do the same thing now. We know exactly what we’re getting and we’re very pleased with what we have. That’s why he’s here.”

Coyle ran with the first-team defense for the majority of the preseason while Wagner was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Coyle started the first two preseason games for Seattle before Wagner returned to the lineup. Ultimately, Coyle has significantly more reps than fellow rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played well in relief duty last week in Carolina.

The Seahawks could use Coyle at middle linebacker in their base defense and then bring in Pierre-Louis for nickel situations with Wright alternating between the two spots.

Coyle has four tackles so far this season.