Of all the prospects I watched film on, Bruce Irvin was not one of them. I had heard his name, but as a late first, second round pick. For the second straight year, the Seahawks picked a nearly consensus second round pick, in the first round. Once again, they were criticized for it. James Carpenter, despite not having a mini camp or much of a training camp, after coming in out of shape due to his lack of OTA's, and then right before the start of the season getting moved to left guard for the opener, actually turned in a damn good season by the end of it. After that, and Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Doug Baldwin and John Moffit, I've learned to trust this regime a little bit. So when Bruce Irvin's name was announced, I didn't look around bewildered, I just shrugged, and vowed to watch some film on the kid.
I heard he was fast, so naturally i had images of him flying wildly up field, gap control be damned to get the quarterback. Yes, he flies up field, he's got incredible speed, but he's not out of control. He has a good handle on his own athleticism, and one of the most impressive tools he has is that he can literally stop on a dime and change direction. It makes the offensive tackles look hilariously pathetic, then again, I watched WV against Clemson, Maryland and Pittsburgh, so I'm not sure I needed Bruce Irvin to show me that.
He used his hands reasonably well for a speed rusher, he doesn't have a lot of moves, but he has very quick hands and is surprising strong. Teams would often turn a guard out towards him to help the tackle out and prevent him from cutting back toward the qb from the edge(looked like one of his favorite moves), and he actually got a decent push against the double teams. He positions his hands well, and is absolutely ridiculously relentless. He's assignment correct 90% of the time and he tackles well. He plays bigger than 250 pounds, which he has to.
Naturally, since he's a little light, I worry about him against the run, he uses leverage well, but I worry that against some of the more physical rushing teams like San Francisco, they may lean on him a little bit. The problem with the Seahawks scheme is that LEO position can get sealed off in the run game if the defensive tackle next to him gets washed down and the linebacker doesn't fill the hole. Atlanta has murdered the Seahawks the last two years with that running scheme.
Irvin can move around a lot, I saw WV line him up as a defensive end, a linebacker and a defensive tackle. The Seahawks can move him around a lot and his speed can cause nightmares.
I think the Hawks can get one more year out of Clemons, which means, unlike the Seahawks last couple first round picks, Irvin won't have to start immediately. Which is good, because pass rushers, Jevon Kearse the exception, rarely excel their rookie year.
I like the pick, and I trust the pick. He's the kind of guy they like, fast, relentless, smart, and can tackle well. He's another playmaker added to a very good defense.