First of all thanks to everyone who attended today’s two-and-a-half hour marathon live-chat session. If you missed it and want to look through what was discussed, click here. Tomorrow we’ll begin to go through the tape as we review Seattle’s draft picks. We’re also going to start looking ahead to the 2012 college season, earmarking which players to keep an eye on. There’s a top-30 watch-list coming your way this week… already.
Len Pasquarelli writes that Seattle’s decision to draft Bruce Irvin wasn’t a surprise among league circles. He quotes one General Manager: “He (Irvin) was arguably the hottest player in the whole draft the past week.”
Eric Allen is a fan of Seattle’s fourth round pick Robert Turbin. “I think he’s going to be a magnificent pick-up for his football team.”
Mike Florio quotes Bruce Irvin via the AP, as the #15 pick vows to repay the faith shown in him by Seattle. Irvin: “I don’t think it was a reach. I didn’t expect to go 15, I’m not going to lie about that, but they felt different and I don’t blame them for it. I’m going to come in here and it’s going to pay off for them.”
Vinnie Lyer from the Sporting News gives Seattle a ‘D’ grade for their draft class. Lyer: “They went for defensive head-scratchers when more reliable prospects were on the board.”
John Czarnecki is a little more positive, he has a ‘B’ grade for the Seahawks. Czarnecki: “Their entire draft was one shocker after another. In the first round, they took West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, who was off a lot of boards because of his arrest last month on a vandalism charge. But Irvin does have tons of ability and, like Carroll said, might be the best pass rusher in this draft.”
Sports Illustrated made their grades anonymously. Here’s why: “Oh right, this is how Ingram made it to San Diego – the Seahawks went bonkers and picked Bruce Irvin at 15. Could he develop into a solid pass-rusher? Sure, but this was a spit take-inducing selection. LB Bobby Wagner and RB Robert Turbin, both from Utah State, will help, and QB Russell Wilson has a bright future, even if Seattle didn’t really need him. Everything else was … very … blah.”
Pete Prisco at CBS goes with a ‘C+’. Prisco: “They made a questionable move at the top with Irvin, bounced back by taking Wagner, but then took Russell Wilson in the third when they just signed Matt Flynn. Why? They did some good things on the final day, but Irvin is the key.”
Mel Kiper was critical of some of Seattle’s picks during the draft and matched it up with a ‘C-‘ grade. Kiper: “Let’s be clear, I think the Seahawks drafted guys they really wanted, and with a plan in mind for how to use them. They moved down once, and may have gotten worried that someone would take Bruce Irvin late in the first round if they didn’t get him at No. 15. But we’re still talking about a player I had a late second-round grade on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Irvin gets 10 sacks in 2012, but that’s really his game. He’s not a three-down player yet.”
Ryan Van Bibber at SB Nation was more impressed with Seattle’s haul. Van Bibber: “It will be interesting to see what becomes of Bruce Irvin. He has talent, and I tend to underwrite character issues a little because, well, twentysomethings sometimes act stupid. Seattle’s 2012 draft class will be judged by Irvin.”
Tony Pauline lists Bruce Irvin as one of his draft ‘reaches’. Pauline: “Several teams considered draft Irvin in Round 1, yet any way you cut it, he was a reach in the middle of the frame. Irvin is a terrific athlete, yet a prospect who needs a lot of work before he’ll be NFL ready.”
Pauline also wasn’t a fan of the Russell Wilson pick: “The Seahawks made another questionable decision, tabbing Wilson in the third frame. Wilson is destined to sit behind newly-signed Matt Flynn and will struggle to see the field at any point over the next three years.”
I feel compelled to respond to some of the above. For starters, people can stop scratching their heads about the Bruce Irvin pick. It’s long been established now that other teams would’ve taken him in round one, including possibly the New York Jets at #16. In a draft where teams were willing to trade out of the first round just to flip fourth rounders and draft a 29-year-old rookie quarterback with the #22 pick, why should anyone be surprised Seattle drafted a pass rusher who ran faster than Von Miller at the combine and had over twenty sacks in two years at West Virginia?
It also seems that certain pundits are ignoring scheme with their grades. The Seahawks really had no position for Quinton Coples, who may well end up as a five-technique in New York. They did have a position for Bruce Irvin, however. A position called the LEO, which has produced 20+ sacks for Chris Clemons in two seasons. Raheem Brock approached double figures in 2010 in a supporting role. If Bruce Irvin can contribute around ten sacks in 2012, will anyone complain about the pick?
Taking Irvin at #15 was a surprise and it’s understandable why it will be considered a reach. But he also ran an official 4.50 at the combine, managed a 1.55 10-yard split and blitzed every other participant in the three-cone drill. Even as a specialist, he’s produced results. In many ways, you know the strengths and weaknesses of a player like Irvin. Chandler Jones – a universally approved pass rusher from Syracuse – has nowhere near the same level of production and is much more of an unknown quantity. Irvin may not be an every down star, but if he contributes – rest assured that’ll be more than some of the players taken in this draft.
The Seahawks added DeShawn Shead from PSU as an UDFA. See the video below for highlights from his pro-day:
As mentioned earlier, later this week I’ll be publishing an early top-30 watch-list for the 2012 college season. In the meantime, game tape of three of the prospects that’ll be listed can be found below – Star Lotulelei, Tyler Wilson and Montee Ball.