Seahawks GM John Schneider: 'We just didn't want to get too cute'
All coach Pete Carroll had to point to was the fact that this guy was timed running the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds at the scouting combine in February.
"He's got extraordinary speed and tremendous flexibility and great instincts and a great motor," coach Pete Carroll said. "He has all of the things that make up a great pass rusher. His length. He's 6-3 with long arms and incredible get off is something that we cherish playing here at our stadium."
Carroll has known about Irvin for years. He recruited him while he was playing for Mount San Antonio College in Southern California in 2009. Carroll said he couldn't get Irvin into USC as a junior-college transfer, but it was evident, even back then the special traits this guy had.
He went to Mt. SAC projected as a safety, but wound up on the defensive line.
"Ever since I've been in coaching, we've been looking for a guy like this," Carroll said. "This is the fastest guy that you can hope to get to play this position."
That's all well and good, and clearly the Seahawks had him rated as the best pass rusher available in this draft. After all, every pass rusher in this draft was available when Seattle chose with the 15th pick.
Could the Seahawks have gotten him later? After all, that would have been the better value. Seattle obviously didn't think so, and after it made the selection, there were indications the Jets had planned to select Irvin at No. 16. New England was also thought to be interested.
And Seattle did consider moving down just as the Seahawks had initially, sliding from No. 12 to No. 15. There were three players Seattle had targeted at that point, a group that almost certainly included defensive lineman Fletcher Cox.
"We just didn't want to get too cute," Schneider said. "This guy is just too special of a football player."
And as Carroll talked about his new pass rusher, he expressed no regrets, only enthusiasm.
"This is exactly the makeup that you're looking for," Carroll said. "This goes all the way back to Charles Haley and Chris Doleman and the Derrick Thomas, that's the kind of effect this guy has a chance to have. He's got a lot to learn. He's going to have to grow up with us, and learn our system and all that. The makeup of this player is so rare. The most recent guy, he looks like a carbon copy of Von Miller rushing the passer."