How Bruce Irvin Fits In With the Seattle Seahawks

How Bruce Irvin Fits In With the Seattle Seahawks

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Over the first three days of this week, we here at WVUPros have run a series previewing how the newly drafted Mountaineers fit in with their new teams. On Monday and Tuesday, we asked Sander of BucsNation.com to tell us how Najee Goode and Keith Tandy will make an impact on the Bucs roster. On Wednesday, he told us about undrafted free-agents Cody Nutter and Tyler Urban and gave his opinion on why former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano would add four Mountaineers to his roster.

We hoped to bring you an interview with a member of the Seahawks media or team discussing Bruce Irvin for today’s feature. We have yet to hear back from the team or media, and if we do we’ll bring you that interview at a later date.

For the time being, we bring you the analysis of Bruce Irvin from members of the national media who base their careers on covering the NFL Draft.

Greg Cosell of NFL.com is one of their resident Draft experts. He differs from other Draft experts because he rarely tells you where and what teams a player should get drafted. Instead, he studiously breaks down game tape of players to find out their strengths and weaknesses. By looking at the players attributes, he will tell you how each player ranks with players at the same position. He had glowing things to say about the Seahawks drafting of Irvin:

“Let’s discuss Irvin the player, and place him in the context of NFL 2012. It could easily be argued based on tape study that Irvin was the most explosive edge pass rusher in the draft. Think about that for a minute. The most important defensive priority in today’s NFL is rushing the quarterback. You can go all the way back to Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh in the 1980s; Walsh, always a step ahead, said that fourth quarter pass rush was the key to winning. His theory has evolved to the point where it encompasses all four quarters. Thus, the Seahawks selected a player with explosive attributes at a premium position.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com lists Irvin as his No.6 Top Impact Rookie.

“Maybe Irvin isn’t a starter and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll eventually will be criticized for drafting a backup at No. 15. But Irvin is probably the draft’s best pass-rusher and should put up double-digit sack numbers early in his career.”

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com

“The Seahawks pulled one of the real stunners of the draft with the No. 15 overall pick by selecting West Virginia pass rusher Bruce Irvin. While Irvin was a chic pick to sneak into the end of the first round, it had been assumed that it would be a 3-4 club that selected him, utilizing him at outside linebacker. The pick could pay off for Seattle as the team needed a pure pass rusher and Pete Carroll, having recruited Irvin heavily while at USC, obviously felt comfortable with Irvin’s troubled upbringing. Considering that I had Irvin rated as the No. 48 prospect on my Big Board, I see this as a reach.”

Peter King of SI.com

“The Bruce Irvin pick at 15 in the first round wasn’t that odd — at least not to two GMs I spoke with. “He was going in the first round, guaranteed,” one said. “He’s got rare pass-rush skills.””

Dan Pompei of NFLPost.com

“The Seahawks may or may not have picked a player who will be an NFL star. But they knew who Irvin is, and they have a plan for him.

[Seahawks GM John] Schneider thought Irvin was the best pass rusher in the draft and one of the three best defenders, along with Luke Kuechly and Mark Barron. Two other general managers I spoke with concurred that Irvin was the best pass rusher in the draft. Some teams questioned if Irvin can be more than a pass rusher, however.

For the time being, Irvin may be only a pass rush specialist. But the Seahawks believe he can grow into a larger role. Schneider said he has no doubt Irvin can be an every down player at the Seahawks’ “Leo” position, which also is known as an “Elephant” in some defenses. It’s the same position Charles Haley and Fred Dean made famous. Chris Clemons has been manning the position for the Seahawks recently.

If Irvin plays Leo, he will be dropping about a quarter of the time. The Seahawks think he has the capacity to do that. It may take him awhile, but they believe Irvin, who was a receiver in high school and a safety in junior college, can get there.

“He’s not a finished product,” Schneider said. “He’s like a lump of clay. He has a lot of work to do, don’t get me wrong. But he is a guy the coaches think they can mold. His change of direction testing was phenomenal. His movement skills are phenomenal.”

After reading what the pundits have to say, how do you think Bruce will perform in his rookie season?

See Also:

How Najee Goode Fits In With the Tampa Bay Bucs

How Keith Tandy Fits In With the Tampa Bay Bucs

How Tyler Urban and Cody Nutter Will Fit In With the Tampa Bay Bucs

 

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3 Comments

  • GoSeahawks says:

    As a Seahawks fan, here’s my analysis of the Irvin pick.

    Last year, Seattle finished fourth in the NFL in pass interceptions with 22. The secondary is the most talented young unit in the NFL, with Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner all making the Pro-Bowl, and Richard Sherman on numerous All-Rookie teams.

    It is notable that the secondary accomplished this in spite of the fact that the pass rush was, at times, anemic. Seattle finished tied for 19th in sacks, with 33 for the season. Chris Clemons led with 11. Second was Leroy Hill with 4.5. Raheem Brock, the rush specialist, had nine sacks in 2010 but dipped to only three in 2011. Simply put, Seattle had no real pass-rush threat outside Clemons.

    What this meant on the field is there were a lot of times last year where QB pressure was seriously limited. QBs could simply sit in the pocket and wait for receivers to get open. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have in the secondary, if a QB has 5-7 seconds to survey the field and make an unpressured throw, you aren’t going to stop many offenses. The other team would double Clemons, and often, there just wasn’t anyone else available to pressure the QB. This was exceptionally apparent in the game against the Redskins, where Rex Grossman had a huge day simply because no one was able to get in his face.

    Bruce Irvin will immediately take Brock’s position as the designated pass-rusher (Brock has not and will not be re-signed). Red Bryant will play on running downs, and Irvin and James Jones (acquired from Tennessee) will enter the game in passing situations to provide additional pass rush, Irvin from the outside, Jones from the inside. If it’s true that Irvin is a one-trick pony (which I do not believe), that one trick is exactly what the Seattle defense needs most, and he’ll have a shot to make an immediate impact.

    For the long-term, Irvin projects as an eventual replacement for Clemons at the LEO. Clemons is 31 years old and has one year remaining on his current contract. Clemons plays LEO at 255, ten pounds heavier than Irvin weighed at the combine, so Irvin’s lack of mass won’t be as much of an issue as critics (and those who do not understand Carroll’s defensive philosophy) contend. One of the players Carroll coached at the LEO position in college was Clay Matthews. Carroll actually tried to recruit Irvin while Irvin was at Mt. SAC and Carroll was at USC, but was unable to do so due to academic issues.

    As a fan, I’m hoping the team can get over 40 sacks this year, with Irvin getting to around Brock’s production from 2010 (9 sacks). If he does that, it will make the entire team more effective at rushing the passer, and also increase the number of hurried throws into that talented young secondary. Seattle’s defense, rated #9 last year, could vault into the top 5. If the secondary had 22 picks last year with a below-average pass rush, what could they accomplish with a pass rush that finishes in the top 10?

    Like many Seahawk fans, I thought “Who?” when they called his name. Once I saw the tape, though, I understood completely. The man’s first step is lightning in a bottle. You can’t coach speed like that, you either have it or you don’t. Irvin’s 40 time isn’t “slightly” faster than the other pass-rush DE/LBs who were available, it’s a good .3 to .4 seconds faster. That’s the difference between pulling up to avoid a late hit penalty and making a sack, or forcing a bad throw.

    BTW, if Irvin gets over ten sacks, I have a bet with myself: I will go out and buy an official game jersey with his name and number. The aesthetic qualities of our new uniforms are open to debate, but if Irvin can give us the pass rush we lacked last year, that will be a beautiful thing, indeed.

    • Caleb Wygal says:

      Thanks for the analysis. When he gets to ten sacks, send us a pic of you in the jersey.

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