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Seahawks All-Time Fantasy Draft (12)

With the 12th overall pick in the first ever Seahawks All-Time Fantasy Draft, the Skid Row Sliders select...

Lofa Tatupu, USC

via NFL

I didn’t want to do it.

As a "young" Seahawks fan, one who watched with interest and some frustration the "old" Seahawks, but one who has redoubled(tripled?) his fandom in recent seasons, I wanted to pick someone old school, someone that proved I was there, I watched and cheered and died for the boys in dingy silver. But I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t pass up picking my third future Hall of Famer in as many picks. That’s the track Lofa Tatupu is on. Following Brian Urlacher’s recent decline, Tatupu is the NFL’s preeminent run and pass stopping middle linebacker. Tatupu has good range, but takes exceptional angles. He’ll never amass Rey Lewis like tackle numbers, but his ability to anticipate rush lines and meet the ball carrier at the earliest possible point makes the tackles he makes count. That same prescience, crafted with God-given intuition, reaction time and awareness but also hard won through film study and practice, makes him a fearsome presence in the middle zone. A squat soup can of mania and muscles with the kind of shutdown ability ascribed to great corners. Opposing offenses passed to Seattle’s middle on less than 20% of all plays—only Cleveland’s middle was targeted as infrequently. No wonder, Seattle had the second ranked defensive DVOA on passes targeting their middle (source: PFP 2008).

At 25, with one missed start in his last 78 games, coming off his best season, on a young, improving defense, Tatupu is entering his peak seasons. In 2007, he set career highs in interceptions and forced fumbles. In the unofficial stat of "breaking skulls", I recorded three backs that didn’t walk away from their Tats clash. Last season Tatupu was bigger, stronger, able to shed blockers, able to deliver jackhammer tackles like he never had before, and...

Dude’s just getting started.