April Madness: Blades vs. Tatupu

Yesterday: Jones vs. Springs

Walter Jones and Shawn Springs arrived three draft picks apart in 1997 – Springs with the third pick overall and Jones at No. 6. But the gap in voting was Grand Canyon-esque. Jones, the nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle, buried Springs, who went to one Pro Bowl in his seven-season stay with the Seahawks.

Any way you look at it, Big Walt came up huge. He got 97 percent of the almost 1,200 responses, or 1,163 votes. That left Springs with three percent, or 36 votes.

Today: Brian Blades vs. Lofa Tatupu

This is a battle of the second-round steals. Blades actually was the Seahawks’ top draft choice in 1988, because the team had used its first-round pick to select linebacker Brian Bosworth in the 1987 supplemental draft. Before he was done, Blades had caught more passes (581) for more yards (7,620) in 11 seasons than any player in franchise history other than Hall of Famer Steve Largent (819 for 13,089). Blades also had a pair of 80-catch seasons – 81 in 1994 and 80 in 1993 – and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1989.

The Seahawks traded up in the second round in 2005 to select Tatupu, who not only became the starter at middle linebacker as a rookie during the run to the Super Bowl but led the team in tackles and was voted to the Pro Bowl. Tatupu also was the leading tackler in 2006, 2007 and 2008 – making him the first player in franchise history to do it for four consecutive seasons. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2007, as well.

Productive receiver? Or productive middle linebacker? You make the call.

Tomorrow: Steve Hutchinson vs. John L. Williams

Click here for full bracket and schedule

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