The Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin. It's important that you get that name right, and not just because no one mentioned him as a player Seattle...
RENTON — The Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin.
It’s important that you get that name right, and not just because no one mentioned him as a player Seattle would pick in the first half of the first round.
There used to be a B.J. Irvin, but that was back in Atlanta where he dropped out of high school and spent a few weeks in jail on burglary charges. He began going by Bruce in 2008, and as he left for junior college, the change was more than symbolic.
“B.J. was the one that was getting in trouble,” Irvin said. “That’s two different people, man.”
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This is Bruce now, a guy who barely played in high school because of his grades but won a national junior-college championship in 2009 before going off to West Virginia, where he racked up 22.5 sacks in two seasons.
And on Thursday, Bruce Irvin was the first defensive end chosen.
“We viewed him as the best pass rusher in the draft,” general manager John Schneider said.
Clearly because there were other options. Six other pass rushers were chosen in the first round, three of them taken in a span of four picks after Seattle made its selection.
Seattle’s pick surprised just about everyone, and that includes Irvin.
“I expected late first round,” Irvin said. “Like 30-something. I didn’t expect 15. It really surprised me.”
Seattle initially held the 12th pick of the draft, but traded it to Philadelphia, which held the 15th pick of the first round. The Eagles threw in a fourth-round choice (No. 114) and six-rounder (No. 172) to move up those three spots.
Irvin was the fastest defensive lineman at the NFL’s scouting combine in February, timed at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash. This is a guy so fast he was initially projected to play safety in junior college, yet his knack for pass rushing wound up pushing him to the front line of the defense.
“I love eating quarterbacks,” he said.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock called him the best pure pass rusher available in this draft.
So why did his selection take so many by surprise? Well, that would have to do with his history, something that Schneider and coach Pete Carroll only alluded to.
“This is a young man that’s had to overcome a lot in his life,” Schneider said.
“To me there’s no particulars other than the fact he’s had a tough time getting through school,” Carroll said.
Irvin played only three games of football in high school at receiver as a sophomore, later transferred and then dropped out. At the scouting combine in February, Irvin said he spent three weeks in jail on two charges relating to an alleged burglary. He attended two junior colleges, playing one season at Mount San Antonio College in Southern California in 2009, where Carroll got to know him as a recruit.
Irvin played the last two years at West Virginia.
“I hate it when people say I have character issues,” Irvin said. “I could see if I was getting in trouble in junior college. But I’ve never been suspended. I’ve never failed a drug test.”
He was arrested in March, charged with destruction of property and disorderly conduct after what was reported as an incident at a sandwich shop in March. Irvin said he appeared in court Tuesday, and the charges were dismissed.
“A lesson learned,” Irvin said. “They’re going to magnify (things) on me. I just can’t go out. Everybody doesn’t want you to be successful.”
Schneider said the team was aware of the incident. Carroll characterized it as a mistake and something Irvin was remorseful for.
“I just had a recent little hiccup, but that’s it,” Irvin said. “I’m happy Pete Carroll trusted in me, man, and believed in me. Deep down in his heart, he knew I was a changed person.”
In other words, the coach knew him as Bruce Irvin and not B.J.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil