Sunday draft links

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.


  1. Stuart

    Rob and Kip, you guys are just amazing. Thank you so much for all your incredibly hard work in putting this draft together for all of us lucky enough to be able to be involved with the process.

    The bottom line to me was to be able to draft two starters, get two key rotational players and the rest of the draft would be depth. But we may have actually over acheived, time will tell.

    The national pundits have ripped us badly, again. I really cant wait to have the draft re-score/draft re-do after a few seasons and have the doubters eat crow in a big time way. Based on past results you would think there would be more love for how well PC/JS have uncovered outstanding players but the biggest thing of all that can happen to shut them all up, WIN.

    Based on what was said about our drafted players, they should all play with that extra “chip” to prove Seattle was right in picking them and all the teams that past them up will pay for it.

    Cant wait for what’s next. We have all been fortunate to be included in everything. Thanks again guys!

  2. Rob

    Thanks for the kind words, Stuart – really appreciated. This has been a great year for the blog with an incredible amount of traffic (I had to upgrade the server). A lot of that is down to the community of people who keep visiting and contributing.

  3. John

    That’s the Wilson I wish would be a Seahawk! I love that kid!

  4. SHawn

    Cant wait to see the 30 to watch list! Total homer here, is Desmond Trufant or Jeff Tuel going to be on that list? Tuel could surprise, and Trufant could be drafted just as high as his brother.

  5. SHawn

    Add Marquess Wilson to that question as well.

  6. JC

    What I don’t get about the Russell Wilson criticism is pointing out Matt Flynn. What the hell does that have to do with anything? He’s not the QBOTF yet. You don’t sign a QBOTF to a three year contract let alone one structured for easily cutting Flynn after one season. Flynn’s presence on the roster should be meaningless. If anything it should say more about Josh Portis.

    • Joe The Jarhead

      This is exactly what I was thinking. Flynn has accomplished absolutely zilch, so to infer locking him in to the starting job for the next three years is careless. Let him throw an actual pass before we put him in the Ring Of Honor. I will rooting for Wilson to shine.

  7. Tom T.

    Yep, for sure. Can’t thank you guys enough.

  8. RJD

    Yeah. ditto, Thanks Rob. Always awesome stuff.

  9. Tezlin

    Great blog! You guys helped me understand the first draft I really paid attention too, and the responses to comments in particular really set your site apart from any other. This site is stellar both for the knowledge and insight you provide as writers but also for the connections you have clearly developed with the team. Thanks for sharing your passion with us, and thanks for helping me understand how a front office has to think and work!

  10. Mike

    Hey Rob and Kip, great job as usual. A ton of work has gone into making this a premier site for Seahawk fans.

    Rob, how did you come to be a Seahawk fan living across the pond? It’s fortunate that you did.

  11. Kevin S.

    Agree with Mike! ^

  12. Ben2

    I guess that’s the sign of a homer; didn’t like the picks when they occurred…but upon further review I like them. Only time will tell though – go Hawks!

  13. akki

    -Much of the lower ranking of Irvin among pundits is based upon the off-field issues. And for the pundits, you can’t get much beyond knowing that there are off-field issues. Your Kipers and Mayocks have to cover every prospect of interest for every team, mile wide inch deep. Each team’s front office can narrow down the scope considerably to players that suit their system, and they can look into select guys in much greater detail. This includes access via interviews and private workouts that may answer questions about the off-field issues. The pundits have no such access, and can only look for scraps of information that “league sources” toss to them. Should a team choose to maintain radio silence, this would seem to be a huge determinant of draft value that the pundits can never account for. So what appears a serious issue to a pundit may not actually be one to many teams, or it could be a worse issue, and the pundits wouldn’t know that.

    -Where the pundits do have a point on reach was that Aldon Smith and Von Miller had a fair amount of experience where you could point to strengths, weaknesses, and development potential from a possible NFL position, be it 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB, or DE. Irvin has much less of that available thanks to West Virginia’s defensive scheme. Does anyone know why WVa never tried him at LB? This unknown suggests a significantly lower draft value to me. Unless, that is, you have access to his performance from his JC days that could fill in the gaps. Like Pete Carroll might have, for example… (hoping here)

    -Regardless of what other team may have picked Irvin if the Seahawks passed on him (Jets at 16, Chargers at 18, Texans at 26, etc) I think you can still call his selection a reach due to the uncertainty of Irvin ever being able to play 3 downs. But if you’ve gotta reach on something, pass-rushing demon is second best thing to do it on after QB. I don’t see this pick as much different from the Locker, Gabbert, and Kaepernick picks from last year, where the defense is at such an important position you’ve just got to go get your guy.

    -Perhaps a technically raw player like Irvin gains value under the new salary slotting system because there will be far fewer holdouts, so that the chance of him having a full camp to work on upgrading his skills is substantially higher.

    -On Pauline’s comments about Wilson, isn’t Osweiler in a similar position? I’d argue that it’s more likely for Wilson to get a chance to play during the next 3 years (due to Flynn failing or getting hurt) than it is for Osweiler to play (due to Manning getting hurt).

  14. Steve in Spain

    re: Irvin, imagine if nobody had known that Stephen Gillmore/Shea McClellin/Chandler Jones were skyrocketing up draft boards before the draft day – all of those picks would have been tabbed as “head-scratchers” and “questionable moves”! The Irvin hate has little to do with the actual merits of the pick and is mostly a function of the informational disadvantage us outsiders had before the draft.

    And a bonus rant: how come any time a prospect tumbles down the draft he’s labelled a draft-day “steal”? Rarely do they question why the guy fell. If several teams passed on a guy before anyone took him, why should we assume that the last team outsmarted the rest? Why automatically assume that the prospect wasn’t poised to fall even further? Rant end.

    Anyway, thanks for a great year, Rob and Kip.

  15. DRG

    Hey guys, just found a youtube vid of wagner and turbin interviewing each other in college.

  16. peter


    As above…absolutely awesome work! I’m already getting excited to see your list for next year’s prospects. It’s always fascinating to see who stays in college and who gos pro, and for what reasons….

    You made a strong case for Upshaw, pounding the drum so to speak, but when the day is done, in some ways you have to have a little smile that he went to the team that in some ways most fits him. The Ravens, have a fantastic player, that more then even the steelers IMO, encapsulates “Upshaw,” I think he’s going to terrorize teams in that division for quite some time….


    NIce work on the steady write-ups, and player analysis, my only thought, and this is a ton of work, is that you get started earlier(!)….between you and Rob, what were you guys clocking? Like, two plus posts per day on average for about 6 weeks…that’s incredible…

  17. Jazz

    Wow Shead looked really good. He has changed himself into an interesting prospect. Just based off that video I would actually be surprised if he didn’t make the roster.

  18. Misfit74

    Interesting that Clemson tape is also talked about in this article about Irvin:

    We just keep finding ways to love Bruce Irvin.

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