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Seahawks gamble on pure pass rusher Irvin

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted April 26, 2012 @ 11:26 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Bruce who?

With the Seahawks in dire need of another pass rusher besides DE Chris Clemons, the consensus in the Pacific Northwest seemed to be that DEs Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram would be the most attractive options available to add a boost off the edge.

But not too many sources on the scene were considering West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, who ended up being the team’s surprise first-round pick with the 15th selection overall after it had moved down three spots following a trade with Dallas that also brought the Seahawks a fourth- and sixth-round picks from the Cowboys.

PFW draft expert Nolan Nawrocki had Irvin ranked No. 40 on his Top 100 list. Based on pass-rush ability alone, there are many in the know who think Irvin, who has 4.4 speed, has no peers in this draft. He has off-the-charts athleticism and can stop and start on a dime.

What concerned most evaluators was Irvin’s character issues. He grew up in Atlanta poor and, for a time, homeless, and a March 17 arrest for destruction of property is an ugly blotch on his résumé. 

But if he can be a consistently destructive force in passing situations, which is when he is expected to make his presence felt, in the same manner as Aldon Smith did for the division-rival Niners as a rookie last season, the Seahawks are apparently willing to gamble that Irvin will keep his nose clean.

Veterans on the Seahawks' D-line with strong character, like Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane, figure to keep a close eye on Irvin and set the right example.

Entering the draft with no really urgent needs, the Seahawks could afford to gamble on a player like Irvin with such a tremendous upside.

Entering the draft with only three picks from the fourth round on, they also gained the ability to pick up a few more warm bodies, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

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