Never too early to compare
It’s been quite a ride for the 2012 Seattle Seahawks, thanks large in part to rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner. His explosive rookie season has him drawing comparisons by some of the Seattle faithful to Lofa Tatupu.
Tatupu and Wagner have the same story.
Both Wagner and Tatupu had dynamite rookie regular seasons, and if Wagner follows a similar career path, Seahawks fans have a lot to look forward to.
The similarities are uncanny. Both were second-round picks, both were considered by many too small to play in the NFL and both have helped lead the Seahawks to unprecedented playoff runs, with eerily similar numbers.
Tatupu was drafted out of USC with the 45th overall pick by the Seahawks in 2005. The team traded up to get Tatupu despite concerns about his size (only 6’0” 240) and perceived slowness.
Tataup rewarded them richly, immediately starting and becoming a Pro Bowler in his first year, in which he recorded 104 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions.
He was a key part of the defense that made it to Super Bowl XL, and he repeated as a Pro Bowler for the next two years before a string of injuries derailed his career.
Bobby Wagner was a star four-year starter at Utah State and was snagged by the hawks with the 47th overall pick. He immediately helped turn the Seahawks defense into one of the most feared in the NFL.
Much like Tatupu, Wagner’s size was mentioned as a handicap (eerily, also 6’0” 240). Also like Tatupu, Wagner has proved the doubters wrong. En route to breaking the Seahawks’ rookie record for tackles, Wagner has put up 140 tackles with two sacks and (like Tatupu) three interceptions.
Yup, they’re freakishly similar.
Tatupu could do everything as a linebacker, and Wagner offers a lot of the same versatility. His coverage skills are particularly well-developed for a rookie with his excellent speed an advantage.
Seahawks fans should be encouraged by the similarities of the two.
Wagner has established a strong candidacy for Defensive Rookie of The Year as a centerpiece of Seattle’s lethal defense.
If he progresses as a player the same way Tatupu did, Seahawks fans can look forward to a solid presence at middle linebacker for years to come.