Seahawks.NET Draft Report: Lofa Tatupu

Seahawks.NET Draft Report: Lofa Tatupu

With their second-round draft pick, the Seahawks selected USC LB Lofa Tatupu, a player that had been shooting up their own board as well as the boards of other teams.

NOTE: The Seattle Seahawks traded their second round pick, 54th overall, and their two later fourth round picks, 121st and 126th overall, to the Carolina Panthers for Carolina's 45th overall pick in the second round.

SECOND ROUND (45TH PICK OVERALL):

With the 13th pick in the second round, the Seattle Seahawks have selected
USC MLB Lofa Tatupu.

SCOUT.COM PLAYER OVERVIEW:

Lofa Tatupu School: USC
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 238 Year: 4Jr

Bio:
All-American and All-Conference selection as a junior last season after leading the team in tackles totaling 104/13.5/6. Also intercepted three passes and broke up eight more. Sophomore numbers included 98/11.5/3, with four interceptions. Began his college career at Maine. Son of former NFL fullback Mosi Tatupu.

Positives:
Athletic linebacker who plays with a good degree of explosion. Breaks down well, slides off blocks and displays good hand technique protecting himself. Aggressive, forceful up the field and flashes on the scene. Gets depth on pass drops and displays skill in zone. Quick locating the ball in run defense and fires through gaps. Takes good angles to the action.

Negatives:
Marginal sideline-to-sideline range in coverage. Overpursues the action, gets sucked up the field and must play with better body control. Not overly instinctive in coverage.

Analysis:
A hard-hitting linebacker with the versatility to be used at several spots, Tatupu is a forceful player who likes physical contact. Built for the weak-side, he must significantly improve his skills in coverage to hold down a starting position in the NFL. Could be considered on the inside for a 3-4 defense where he is allowed to freely roam to the ball.

DOING THE MATH:
4.63 in the 40-yard dash … 385-pound bench press … 545-pound squat … 333-pound power clean … 33-inch vertical jump … 32 3/8-inch arm length … 9½-inch hands.

THE .NET REPORT:

Scott Eklund:
Tatupu is the son of former New England Patriots FB Mosi Tatupu and he was a highly productive linebacker for USC the last two seasons. In 2003, as a junior heled the Co-National Champion Trojans with 98 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four interceptions, 10 pass breakups and one fumble caused. As a senior he was first team All Pac 10 and an All-American at linebacker after posting 104 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, three interceptions, eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He is comparable to Miami Dolphins MLB Zach Thomas in that he lacks ideal size, but is very quick and a sure tackler when he gets his hands on the ballcarrier. Tatupu will probably have to move outside, which is an area of need for the Seahawks. He is an ideal weakside backer and will challenge right away for playing time.

Ryan Rigmaiden:
Passing on pass rushers like Daryl Blackstock, Dan Cody and Matt Roth was difficult to watch in Round 1, but it's much harder in Round 2. The Seahawks have failed to upgrade their pass rush when solid pass rushers were on the board in both rounds. But having Matt Roth go one pick after Seattle's pick was like rubbing salt in the wound. It seems, from these two picks, that the Seahawks are not committed to improving the pass rush this year.

Having said that, Tatupu can play. He's fast and instinctive and can make plays versus the run and pass. The 'Hawks may stick him on the weakside to maximize his playmaking skills.

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