Scout's notebook: MLB Lofa Tatupu

Lofa Tatupu has bee a key part of the Seahawks' emergence on defense this year. Maurice Labrecque/WireImage.com


His father Mosi Tatupu also played at USC and with the Patriots and Rams. Lofa attended Maine as a freshman before transferring to USC. Sat out one year, then led the team in tackles as a sophomore and junior before declaring for the NFL draft. Seattle traded two fourth-round picks and its second-round pick (No. 54) to move up in the second round, drafting Tatupu 45th overall. Beat out Niko Koutouvides for the starting MLB spot in training camp and has started all 13 games. Leads the Seahawks in tackles by a wide margin. One of the leading candidates for defensive rookie of the year.

Productive, natural leader and energetic catalyst with rare instincts that cover up his size and speed limitations. Super smart and aware. Makes all the calls for a very young defense. Can read flow to get in position and is getting better slipping blocks. Breaks down well and is a striking, snap tackler. Aggressive but not out of control. Loves football. Aware in coverage, gets good depth in his drops and anticipates throws to make breaks on the ball and has natural hands for interceptions. Better blitzer than his timed speed would indicate.