Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll wanted the best pass rusher in the draft, and he believes he got him in West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin.
At 6-3, 245 pounds, Irvin finished with 22.5 sacks in 26 games at West Virginia, including 14 in 2010. Irvin was an All-Big East Conference first-team selection by the league’s coaches as a senior.
Carroll said he recruited Irvin while at USC and developed a relationship with the 22-year-old from Atlanta, Ga.
“He’s a fantastic football player,” Carroll said. “He’s a great pass rusher. The speed that he brings is so unique and so rare. When he had his opportunities to show it in college, he came out as the best pass rusher in America. That’s something that we’re really excited about.
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“The fact that I’ve known him for so long and have background with the kid – I know what he’s been through as John (Schneider) mentioned – I feel like we’ve got a guy that we had interest in from a lot of areas. This guy’s going to be a great asset to the program.”
Scheider talked about the process of moving down from the No. 12 pick to No. 15, with the Seahawks picking up a fourth and sixth-round pick from Philadelphia.
“We were extremely excited,” Seattle general manager John Schneider said. “We didn’t want to get too cute with it. Obviously we viewed him as the best pass rusher in the draft. … There was a certain we thought we could get to. And then we talked about going back again, but then we decided to just go ahead and lock it down.
“We had this guy rated as one of the top players in the draft.”
Carroll compared Irvin to Von Miller in terms of his get-off and ability to rush the passer. But he understands that Irvin is not a finished product, and will have to learn the different aspects of playing pass coverage.
Right now Irvin is penciled in as a backup Leo behind Chris Clemons and will line-up opposite Clemons on third down, similar to how Seattle used Raheem Brock last year.
Carroll said he plans on using Irvin the same way he used Clay Matthews at USC, as mostly a rusher who drops at times into coverage.
“He’s got extraordinary speed and tremendous flexibility,” Irvin said. “And great instincts, and a great motor – He has all of the things that make up a good pass rusher.”
Carroll also addressed Irvin’s off-the-field issues. Most recently, two months ago, the weekend after his pro day on March 16, Irvin was arrested for destruction of property and disorderly conduct after allegedly breaking a sign a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in Morgantown.
Irvin said during an interview with him this evening that those charges were dropped.
Irvin was a high school drop out who spent two years out of high school and spent time in juvenile detention center before earning his GED in 2007.
Carroll said he recruited Irvin to USC out of Mt. San Antonio Junior College, but he couldn’t make it through admissions.
“We wanted him at SC, but just academically it didn’t work out quite well for us,” Carroll said. “The school is very difficult for JC transfers to get in. But he found a place at West Virginia.
“But it’s just been hard on him at times, and he had very little. And he’s with his family tonight, and he’s just as thrilled to be able to tell him that this is coming true.”