Summing up the 10 selections (eight defensive) he made in last weekend’s NFL draft, Seahawks general manager John Schneider seemed to grade his performance an “A” when he said, “We’re really excited about the talent . . . I couldn’t be more pleased.” Not all, of course, shared Schneider’s enthusiasm, and most were shocked to their socks at the selection of DL Bruce Irvin in the first round.
Head coach Pete Carroll, of course, loved it, saying Thursday, “We did a good thing today.”
Hub Arkush, the Pro Football Weekly publisher who has been watching the NFL practically since the days of George Halas, wildly disagreed, saying of Irvin, “He’s not the 15th best player in the draft. He’s not the 50th best player. This kid, you cannot take him that high.”
Tony Pauline of CNNSI.com agreed with Arkush, noting, “Several teams considered drafting 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.
“The Seahawks made another questionable decision, tabbing (quarterback Russell) 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.”
ColdHardFootballFacts.com put it this way: “Irvin is a high-risk pick on three fronts: he is undersized and looks mostly like a one-dimensional, pass-rushing specialist; he has a checkered past, dropping out of high school and bouncing around to several colleges; and, on the field, Seattle had many more pressing issues than its defensive line. The Seahawks were No. 4 last year on our Defensive Hog Index.”
Opined the New York Post: “Taking OLB Bruce Irvin at No. 15 is one of the biggest reaches in years. LB Bobby Wagner is solid but not spectacular. Unlikely to be a productive crop.”
CBS Sports.com: “Best pick: Second-round linebacker Bobby Wagner is an athletic kid who should push for a starting job right away. He is a Pete Carroll-type of LB.
“Questionable move: Their first pick, taking defensive end Bruce Irvin. He had some character issues and some scouts think he doesn’t play hard enough. He can rush the passer, so the attraction is obvious. Risky. 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. Grade: C+”
CNNSI Report Card: “Could Irvin develop into a solid pass-rusher? Sure, but this was a spit take-inducing selection. LB Bobby Wagner (47) and RB Robert Turbin (106), both from Utah State, will help, and QB Russell Wilson (74) has a bright future, even if Seattle didnt really need him. Everything else was very blah. Grade: C.”
Independent of publisher Arkush, Pro Football Weekly delivered the most positive assessment of Seattle’s draft, observing, “As the draft’s most explosive edge rusher, Irvin could make an instant impact for Pete Carroll’s fly-at-the-snap scheme and may prove to be worth the selection with passing downs now accounting for nearly 60 percent of snaps in an increasingly pass-first league.
“With Wagner, they bolstered their linebacking group with a versatile performer likely to plug in on the strong side, where Leroy Hill has been unreliable. Wagner performed well at the Senior Bowl, cementing his second-round status.”
Added Don Banks, also of CNNSI: “Irvin has undeniable pass rush skills, but Seattle passed up the likes of Quinton Coples, Chandler Jones and Melvin Ingram to take him. My question? Even if Seattle had a strong conviction about him, did they not stand a pretty good chance of moving back again from No. 15 in order to take him lower in the round and still garner more draft picks?
“Seattle plans on using him as a situational pass rusher this season, and then is counting on him growing into full-blown beast mode coming off the edge. At No. 15 in the draft, he has to be more than a part-time player, and soon. The Seahawks are taking a gamble on a player they think they know well enough to bet on. But Irvin begins his NFL career with perhaps more doubters than any other first-round pick.”
We could not find a single draft report card from a media outlet that awarded the Seahawks an “A.” Almost all gave the Seahawks Cs, including Pete Prisco of CBS Sports (C+), Rob Rang of NFL DraftScout.com (C) and Mel Kiper of ESPN (C-).
So are these guys smarter than Schneider and Carroll? Or are Schneider and Carroll too much in love with their own reflections?