#9 – Bruce Irvin

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You know why I hate reading about football in the pre-season?  Because all you ever hear about is how great This Player looks in practice, or how much more “in shape” That Player is and how much better they’re going to be this season.  Then, you get into the games, and … nothing.

Bruce Irvin has played in two pre-season games as a Seahawk and has exactly zero stats.  By all accounts, he’s been playing quite a bit in these two games, and yet … nothing.

This doesn’t mean I’m necessarily down on the guy.  It also doesn’t mean I’m ready to acknowledge those draft “experts” who said he was a reach and a waste of a mid-first round pick.  I will say that I’m disappointed that he hasn’t done ANYTHING – even against crappy second or third stringers – because you’d think a guy with his talents would at the very LEAST somehow back himself into half a tackle or something.  But, I understand that defensive line – especially defensive end – brings with it a higher learning curve than other positions like linebacker or running back.

Still, if he goes the whole pre-season without registering a stat, I’ll admit to being a little worried.

While it’s unfair to expect the world out of a rookie – even if he is a high draft pick – it’s more than fair to expect SOMETHING.  Essentially, to expect a sign of better things to come.  I’m not looking for the guy to get 16 sacks as a rookie; in fact, I’d be elated if he ended the season with half that.  But, he needs to do something.

He was, like it or not, our first round draft pick.  A first round draft pick can’t just sit around and do nothing as a rookie – especially if he’s not a quarterback.  You draft guys in the first and second rounds to be starters, or to at least contribute right away at an NFL level.  If Bruce Irvin comes in and constantly gets manhandled week-in and week-out (like he has been thus far in the pre-season), then he will have bust written all over him.

The Seahawks need Irvin to hit and hit big.  They’ve failed too many times along the defensive line in both the draft and free agency – Lawrence Jackson, Lamar King, Grant Wistrom, Patrick Kerney (except for that one season), Darryl Tapp – that if they fail on Irvin, I’m afraid they’ll go back to over-compensating by going after over-the-hill free agents again.

In retrospect, I now understand why the Seahawks were so willing to bend over backwards to bring Clemons back on an extension.  It would be an understatement to say Bruce Irvin won’t be your Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.  My hope is that he’ll make enough of a leap between Year 1 and Year 2 to make us forget our currently dashed high expectations.

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