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Seahawks' top pick Irvin no longer considered a reach

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Oct. 25, 2012 @ 11:53 a.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Remember all those moans in Seahawks Nation when a lot of close team observers accused the team of making a major reach with the selection of “One Trick Pony” Bruce Irvin in the first round of this year’s draft? With Irvin’s first season in a Seahawks uniform fast approaching the halfway point, the increasing cries of “Bruuuuuce” in CenturyLink Field should not be confused with boos in any way, shape or form.

“He’s turned out to be exactly what they wanted,” one team insider said of Irvin, who, along with fellow DE Chris Clemons, has wasted no time turning on Seahawks fans as a potent pass-rush parlay already considered to be on a par with the Michael Sinclair-Michael McCrary combo that wreaked havoc on opposing QBs in 1996. “When he got those two sacks early against the Packers in the Monday-night win, the fans just fell in love with him.”

That also appears to be the case, we hear, with Clemons, who apparently has very enthusiastically taken Irvin under his wing.

“He has really taken to Irvin, like a big brother,” the observer said of Clemons, who was responsible for one-third of the Seahawks’ sack total last season. “Irvin hates the whole ‘one trick pony’ rap that he’s nothing more than a pure outside pass rusher. Clemons works with him on counter moves, spins, and Irvin has proven to be very willing to learn, spending lots of time in the film room.

“Clemons is a great mentor because he started out in a situational role like Irvin.”

So did 49ers 2011 first-round DE Aldon Smith, who made a major impact as a pure pass rusher with 14 sacks, the second-most ever by a rookie in league history. In his second season, Smith has expanded his role and become an every-down starter at right outside linebacker.

The way we hear it, while Irvin is gradually expected to spell Clemons at the “Leo” position more on run downs, he will remain primarily a relentless force in passing situations for the foreseeable future, with both Clemons and DLE Red Bryant considered such rock-solid run stoppers.

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