April Madness: Alexander vs. Trufant

Shaun Alexander (left) and fellow 2000 first-round draft choice Chris McIntosh with former coach and GM Mike Holmgren

Yesterday: Easley does it, and it was no surprise. Kenny Easley advanced from his first-round matchup with Michael Sinclair rather, well, easily. The former Pro Bowl strong safety, NFL defensive player of the year and fourth pick overall in 1981 garnered 633 votes, or 85 percent of the responses. That left Sinclair, who led the NFL in 1998 with a club-record 16½ sacks after being a sixth-round pick in 1991, with 111 votes – or 15 percent of the responses.

Easley will face Steve Hutchinson in the second round, after the All-Pro left guard dispatched former multitalented fullback John L. Williams in the opening round.

Today: Shaun Alexander vs. Marcus Trufant

Offense or defense? Running back or cornerback? Import vs. homegrown? While Alexander and Trufant were teammates for five seasons during the most successful stretch in franchise history – and each was given the franchise tag at one point – that’s where the similarities end.

Alexander, the 19th pick overall in the 2000 draft out of Alabama, went where no player in franchise history has during his prolific eight-season run with the Seahawks. Not surprisingly, he is the club’s all-time leader in rushing yards (9,429), rushing touchdowns (100), total touchdowns (112) and rushing attempts (2,176).

All this despite a delayed entry into the starting lineup, because the Seahawks still had Ricky Watters when they drafted Alexander. But once he became the featured back, there was no looking back for Alexander. He led the club in rushing for seven seasons, and produced an average of 1,500 rushing yards from 2001-2005.

Alexander was the NFC’s leading rushing in 2004 (1,696 yards) and topped the league in 2005 (1,880). He also scored a then-NFL record 28 touchdowns in ’05, when he was voted league MVP – the first player in franchise history to receive that honor.

He was voted to the Pro Bowl three times and earned All-Pro recognition in 2004 and 2005.

Trufant, meanwhile, is Local – yes, with a capital “L.” He’s from Tacoma and was an all-state player at Wilson High School. He then played at Washington State, where Trufant did not allow a touchdown reception in his final two seasons. He became a Seahawk when the club made him the 11th pick overall in the 2003 draft.

The best of Trufant’s seven seasons with the Seahawks came in 2007, when he intercepted a career-high seven passes and was voted to his first Pro Bowl. But he also had five interceptions and a team-leading 93 tackles in 2004.

In the team’s 34-year history, only three corners have been voted to the Pro Bowl – Dave Brown in 1984, Shawn Springs in 1998 and Trufant.

Prodigious production by an offensive player? Or rock-steady consistency by a defensive player? You make the call.

Tomorrow: Jacob Green vs. Chris Warren

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