The Seattle Seahawks addressed their defensive depth with the 132nd pick of the draft, selecting linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis out of Boston College.
Pierre-Louis is undersized for a linebacker at just 232 pounds, according to his profile page on NFL.com. He also has great speed. He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.46 seconds, which makes him the third fastest of any linebacker in this year's draft, according to CBSsports.
#Seahawks scout Todd Brunner said Kevin Pierre-Louis reminded him of a guy he scouted in SF. That guy? Navarro Bowman.— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) May 10, 2014
Bowman was significantly bigger coming out of college, but that is a great endorsement from one of Seattle's talent evaluators. His game tape more closely resembles that of 2013 Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith. Pierre-Louis is natural in coverage and has the ability to neutralize any tight end or running back in the passing game.
Pierre-Louis lacks strength and may not be able to hold up at the point of attack against the run early in his career. Like Smith, this means he is better suited at weak-side linebacker as opposed to on the strong side. He will need to add strength to his upper body if he is going to be effective on the strong side of the formation.
Pierre-Louis' obvious fit is as the heir to Smith at weak-side linebacker in Seattle. Smith is entering the final year of his contract and will almost certainly get a big contract elsewhere after this year.
Another possibility for Pierre-Louis is as a backup, and eventual replacement, for middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner was undersized to play in the middle, but has excelled in that role in the NFL. Pierre-Louis has a similar speed and suddenness to his game to Wagner, and could be very productive as a middle linebacker in Seattle's scheme.
An interesting dynamic that shows up with this selection is its relationship to 2012 first-round pick Bruce Irvin. Irvin moved from defensive end to strong-side linebacker in 2013, with mixed results.
At the end of the year, Smith had displaced Irvin from the starting lineup by pushing K.J. Wright from the weak-side across the formation. Now the Seahawks add another dynamic athlete to the group, providing additional depth and potentially limiting Irvin's playing time even more.
Given Seattle's needs for a situational pass-rusher, and Irvin's success in that role his rookie season, it is possible that the Seahawks could move Irvin back to defensive end for the 2014 season. This obviously isn't ideal for Irvin's development as a player, but it might be the best way to maximize the talent on Seattle's roster.
In 2014, Pierre-Louis will have to make an impact as a special teams player while he waits for his shot to get meaningful snap with the defense. If the Seahawks run into injuries at linebacker, he appears to be completely capable of stepping in and performing well for the Seahawks.
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