Last year’s first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin, the 6-foot-3, 248-pound defensive end out of West Virginia, could be slated for a breakout year, writes NFL.com columnist Adam Schein.
Draft analysts questioned the pick of the unrefined pass rusher a year ago, but head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider saw the upside in his tremendous athletic ability and physical makeup.
“I just need a great group of people around me and need to get around a great group of pros who are going to show me how to be a pro on and off the field and I think I’ll be all right,” Irvin said the day he was drafted with the 15th overall pick in 2012.
Despite seeing limited snaps as a situational pass rusher a season ago, Irvin led all rookies with 8.0 sacks, recorded 19 quarterback hits and forced a fumble. In 2013 he’ll be joined at the line of scrimmage by newcomers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, who combined for 18.5 sacks last season and could help create more space for Irvin to get after the quarterback.
On Irvin, Schein writes: “This cat is a freak athlete. Irvin had eight sacks in his rookie year — and he was still raw. With a full NFL season under his belt, this Seattle pass rusher will become one of the elite sack artists and disruptive forces in the game.”
Also appearing on Schein’s list of breakout candidates for 2013 are Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker, New York Giants running back David Wilson, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown, and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley.