Bruce Irvin continues to stir an interesting debate when it comes to whether the dratnik universe’s harsh judgement was right. The West Virginia edge-rushing product was widely and fairly critiqued for not having enough of a well-rounded repertoire to go at No. 15 overall in the 2013 NFL draft — way earlier than many experts had him projected. However, his raw skills for flying off the edge and bringing a passer to the ground served the Seattle Seahawks quite well in that role last season, leading all rookies in sacks with eight.
While the Seahawks’ Monday Night Football “win” over the Green Bay Packers vindicated general manager John Schneider to some degree, the NFC divisional-round loss to the Atlanta Falcons drummed up some of the same old questions. Chris Clemons’ injury the week prior against the Washington Redskins meant Irvin had to play more roles and face more attention than his pin-ears-back-and-go mode all season. This is a level that most elite 3-4 outside linebackers or 4-3 defensive ends must meet at some point, and Irvin was not up to that task last season.
Of course, another offseason of training camp could see that change a fair amount. CoachPete Carrollis already planning open a variety of ways to put Irvin in position to optimize his abilities, including at outside linebacker.
“He looks very comfortable,’’ Carroll said, via the Seattle Times. “He looks absolutely natural at doing it. His body type is the 3-4 outside backer guy like (Chris Clemons) and like Cliff (Avril). Those guys are all the same in that regard. At this point he understands the position, he can cover, he’s coming off the edge like lightning. It’s just a matter of how he demonstrates his savvy once he starts playing the game. … Unfortunately he’s going to miss some time, but that preseason will be hugely important for him to show how far he’s come.”