2012 NFL Draft: Seahawks Reportedly Not Alone in Their Pursuit of Bruce Irvin
Shortly after the Seattle Seahawks selected defensive end Bruce Irvin, the punditry charged with giving their instant analysis of each pick was in full condemnation mode, blasting the Seahawks for what they labeled on obvious "reach"—even though we in the media have no idea whatsoever where NFL teams had Irvin ranked on their draft boards.
Some clarity seems to have been brought to that mystery with a report from the Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli:
In conversations over the past two days, The Sports Xchange has confirmed that several other franchises, including the one picking directly after Seattle, had the former West Virginia University standout rated as a solid first-round candidate and likely would have chosen the hybrid pass-rusher had he been available to them.
Among the several teams that either planned to select Irvin or had him on a "short list" of first-round candidates for consideration: the New York Jets (No. 16), Chicago (19th), Green Bay (28th) and San Francisco (No. 30).
Pasquarelli's report gives credence to the idea that, while the media may over-cover the draft to an absurd degree, they still know little about the process of how players are rated and selected by actual NFL teams. Prior to Pasquarelli's report, news surfaced that the 49ers had actually sent an assistant coach to meet with, and work out, Irvin two days before the draft began.
I wrote last night in my post-draft power rankings that I liked the Irvin pick. I think he'll surprise a lot of the pundits and fans that are down on him. He's got an incredible first-step off the ball and he will basically be putty in the hands of defensive line coach Todd Wash.
Yes, there are questions off the field (Irvin is a former high school dropout who served time in a juvenile correctional facility and was arrested on destruction of property chargers shortly before the scouting combine) but his upside rushing off the edge in Seattle's 4-3 defense is through the roof. Pete Carroll is obviously excited about that potential, and I tend to share that enthusiasm.
I don't think the expectation is for Irvin to come in and be a starter right away. I do think the expectation is for Irvin to come in on passing downs and wreak havoc, something I think he is more than capable of doing. Only time will tell if he is capable of becoming an every-down player, but in a league where getting to the quarterback is paramount, Irvin has the tools to get it done with regularity.
In the end, the flap over Irvin's selection and the subsequent revelation that several other teams were as high on him as the Seahawks is another reminder that prior to the draft, while we think we know...we really don't.
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