2012 NFL Draft: Connecting the Dots of How Bruce Irvin Became 1st-Round Pick

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 3, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Bruce Irvin #11 of the West Virginia Mountaineers looks on against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Anytime a first-round pick comes seemingly out of nowhere, an examination of how the pick came to pass is always fascinating. Often a perfect storm of factors had to converge to make the unlikely event take place. Former West Virginia DE/OLB Bruce Irvin to the Seattle Seahawks at No. 15 was the most unlikely pick of the round, and it demands a deeper look.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com provides the clues. First, Sando points out that two 4-3 ends, Shea McClellin and Chandler Jones, went at No. 19 and 21 after the Seahawks took Irvin. We might assume the Seahawks easily could have traded down and still gotten Irvin, but those picks suggest he might have been gone in the next six selections. Interestingly, Sando says the Seahawks liked Jones but had concern about a toe injury.

Sando also provides us with the nugget that the Seahawks had three players in mind when they traded down from No. 12 to No. 15, and two of them were taken before they got back on the clock. Unless the Seahawks were going to take Michael Floyd the year after they signed Sidney Rice to a huge free-agent deal, Michael Brockers and Fletcher Cox were the other players. 

The New York Jets were also a concern at No. 16, according to Sando, but Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News reported they would have taken David DeCastro if Quinton Coples hadn't fallen to 16, so the Seahawks' worries were unfounded there.

The most surprising part of this analysis is that it sounds like the top guard in David DeCastro, another top defensive end in Melvin Ingram, and a top middle linebacker in Dont'a Hightower were never serious considerations for the Seahawks despite being linked to them before the draft and playing at need positions.  With the likelihood of the Philadelphia Eagles trading up for Cox and the St. Louis Rams then taking Brockers at No. 14, the Seahawks probably knew they were getting Irvin when they traded down from No. 12.