Friday cyber surfing: It’s all about Irvin

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 27:

The Seahawks pulled a stunner on Thursday night by selecting pass rusher Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft after trading back from the 12th to the 15th spot.

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times calls the selection a “trust-me” pick: “Unless you were inside the VMAC war room or inside Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s head, or some other place where you weren’t invited on Thursday, you couldn’t have seen this one coming. Bruce Irvin? Wasn’t he the raw-as-a-floor-burn prospect who was supposed to be picked Friday; a pass-rushing, second-round selection who maybe, just maybe, could be one of the steals of the NFL draft? The Seahawks came into the first round Thursday needing a pass rusher. It was their vaguely-disguised top priority. And, after trading down from 12 to 15, it was their good fortune that every available pass rusher still was on the board. They could have taken the prototypical guy, North Carolina’s Julius Peppers-like Quinton Coples. Or they could have taken the guy Carroll gushed about Monday at the predraft news conference, South Carolina’s versatile. Melvin Ingram. They could have chosen a pass rusher who didn’t have a police record. They could have gone with the safest, sanest pick. But they took the road not traveled. They chose a player Carroll scouted in college, a guy he wanted at USC, but couldn’t get into school.”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune says the selection of Irvin follows a pattern: “Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll can supply valid football reasons for the decisions they make. They love players who have unique physical gifts and fit special niches in their schemes. And you can see the positive effects of the approach in their first two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. But you start getting the sense they also take some extra joy in doing the unconventional, the unexpected, the risky. Going against the grain. They kept it interesting again in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday evening, picking West Virginia pass rusher Bruce Irvin.”
Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil has the details of Irvin’s past – actions and name: “The Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin. It’s important that you get that name right, and not just because no one mentioned him as a player Seattle would pick in the first half of the first round. There used to be a B.J. Irvin, but that was back in Atlanta where he dropped out of high school and spent a few weeks in jail on burglary charges. He began going by Bruce in 2008, and as he left for junior college, the change was more than symbolic. ‘B.J. was the one that was getting in trouble,’ Irvin said. ‘That’s two different people, man.’ This is Bruce now, a guy who barely played in high school because of his grades but won a national junior-college championship in 2009 before going off to West Virginia, where he racked up 22.5 sacks in two seasons. And on Thursday, Bruce Irvin was the first defensive end chosen.”

Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams points out that even Irvin was surprised by his selection: “That’s right, with their pick of pass rushers still on the board – including North Carolina’s Quinton Coples, South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, Syracuse’s Chandler Jones and USC’s Nick Perry – the Seahawks broke away from the pack once again by selecting someone who many had pegged as a second-round pick. Including Irvin. ‘I expected late first round, like thirty-something,’ Irvin said. ‘But I didn’t expect 15. It was a little surprising.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald provides Irvin’s take on Pete Carroll’s unique view of his unique talents: “I’m just happy Pete Carroll trusted in me and believed in me. Deep down in his heart, he knows I’m a changed person. He knows Bruce. Pete Carroll didn’t even know B.J. He knows Bruce, so that’s all that matters.”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest says Carroll’s connection with Irvin paved the way for the selection: “It is much easier to get comfortable with a 250-pound guy who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. Carroll was quicker to a comfort level, owing to the fact that he tried to recruit Irvin to USC. The grade thing was a problem. But in the NFL, little concern is given to recall of 18th century French poets. ‘I’ve known the guy for a long time,’ he said. ‘We were fortunate to know the background more than some other teams.’ ”

John Clayton at ESPN.com says the Seahawks made the most-surprising selection in the first round: “When Luke Kuechly went to the Panthers at No. 9, you knew the Seahawks would bail on the No. 12 pick and trade back. The problem is whom they selected at No. 15. A lot of teams didn’t have LB Bruce Irvin in the first round. Some didn’t have him in the second round. Pete Carroll felt having Irvin along with an additional fourth- and a sixth-round pick was better than staying at No. 12. The Seahawks would have been better served by continuing to move back and get more picks. If they are right on Irvin and his motor, great. But if they are wrong, they didn’t get value back for their trade.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando offers what he likes about each of the first-round picks in the NFC West, including the Seahawks: “Coach Pete Carroll is personally and passionately invested in Irvin’s success. Carroll and his defensive staff have enjoyed great success when matching players with specific traits to specific roles. Irvin possesses a very specific set of skills. He’s a pass-rusher, plain and simple. That’s all the Seahawks will ask him to do, at least initially. The 14-sack season San Francisco got from Aldon Smith in 2011 serves as a model for what the Seahawks will want from Irvin. Smith did not start a game, but he was a force in passing situations.”

Not surprisingly, the Irvin selection was one of the things Clark Judge didn’t like in his “Judgements” at CBSSports.com: “Are you kidding me? The guy tested off the charts at the combine, but he’s a liability. In fact, one scout told me he didn’t want to do anything but rush the passer, meaning he wasn’t interested in starting or playing special teams. That’s one reason most clubs had him buried somewhere in the second round. Maybe Pete Carroll finds something in this guy. I wouldn’t rule it out, not after what he did with that defense last year. But this one was a considerable reach.”

Don Banks at SI.com also was surprised by the Seahawks’ selection: “There was no bigger surprise Thursday night than Seattle taking West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin, a former high school drop-out who has more than his share of character red flags. Irvin has undeniable pass rush skills, but Seattle passed up the likes of Quinton Coples, Chandler Jones and Melvin Ingram to take him. My question? Even if Seattle had a strong conviction about him, did they not stand a pretty good chance of moving back again from No. 15 in order to take him lower in the round and still garner more draft picks? Irvin is said to have a tremendous burst around the edge, and at 6-foot-3, 248 pounds with 4.48 speed, he sounds like a pure pass-rusher who Pete Carroll is hoping to turn loose on opposing offenses. Seattle plans on using him as a situational pass rusher this season, and then is counting on him growing into full-blown beast mode coming off the edge. At No. 15 in the draft, he has to be more than a part-time player, and soon. The Seahawks are taking a gamble on a player they think they know well enough to bet on. But Irvin begins his NFL career with perhaps more doubters than any other of Thursday’s first-round picks.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at how the Seahawks got exactly what John Schneider (two more picks by trading back) and Pete Carroll (the pass rusher he coveted) wanted in the first round: “The Seahawks, as it turns out, got two players and three picks in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. First, they traded out of the 12th spot in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles that also netted the Seahawks extra picks in the fourth and sixth rounds by moving down three spots in the first round. Then, the selected Bruce Irvin, an explosively quick defensive end from West Virginia. ‘We were extremely excited,’ general manager John Schneider said of the not-so-surprising trade that led to the somewhat-surprising selection of Irvin. ‘Obviously, we viewed him as the best pass rusher in the draft.’ ”

We also continue our looks at the best draft choices in franchise history with the second round: “Sherman Smith. Terry Beeson. Keith Butler. Brian Blades. Terry Wooden. Kevin Mawae. Lofa Tatupu. John Carlson. Each was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Seahawks. Each delivered results befitting a first-round pick. But which player was the best second-round pick in franchise history?”


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