For the last three months draft pundits had the Seattle Seahawks picking a defensive end with the 12th pick in the 2012 NFL draft. I, myself, had them picking an offensive guard. Either way, everyone knew that whomever was chosen, he would be taken from a select group of players.
The names that were thrown around were: South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram, North Carolina DE Quinton Coples, Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw and Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox.
On the other side of the ball, many pundits had them choosing the likes of David DeCastro, an offensive guard from Stanford (the pick I would have been happiest with). WalterFootball.com had them choosing Michael Floyd, a wide receiver from Notre Dame.
He flew under the radar of most pundits, which is surprising considering the speed he showed at the NFL combine. Furthermore, he is one of only 13 defenders that the National Football Post is forecasting to become starters in their rookie season. The National Football Post also has him ranked as the No. 17 overall prospect and No. 2 OLB prospect, given a score of 7.0DP. This means the scout was so impressed by him that he saw him not only starting and excelling at a position he did not play in college, but doing so in his first year in the league.
As for the tough childhood—a fair amount of which he spent behind bars—it is not the actions of our youth that define us. Rather, it is how we overcome those actions. Very few of us can look back on our childhoods without some regret, and obviously Irvin made mistakes in his youth. However, he made the effort and put his life back on track. He showed he had the strength to rise above those early setbacks.
Now he needs to show that he can add size to that strength. He will need to build on the 10 pounds he added to his bulk for the combine if he wants to be effective in the run game. This will be important if he is to become a three-down defender.
In the meantime, the Seahawks will be able to use him as an OLB/DE in the 3-4 defense. That should help them increase the pressure on opposing quarterbacks.