LOUISVILLE KY - NOVEMBER 20: Justin Burke #13 of the Louisville Cardinals is sacked by Bruce Irvin #11 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 20 2010 in Louisville Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks make a great set of bookends at the outside linebacker position. Both are great pass rushers, which makes them impact players. The saying goes: You can never have too many pass rushers. I'd hate to see the defense regress were one of them to get injured. Lord knows Parys Haralson isn't a natural rusher.
Enter a guy I really like on the outside. Bruce Irvin was used as a pin-your-ears-back-and-go type of guy in West Virginia's 3-3-5 Nickel defense. Simply put: He's a pure pass-rusher.
He really reminds me a lot of Aldon Smith in the way he rushes. He fires off the ball violently, works around the edge, then uses his club to force the offensive tackle off of his frame. He can use the club to counter inside and has a real nose for finding the QB.
I'd love to draft him in the second round and use him in a pass-rush rotation in Nickel defense. Bring him a long slowly like Aldon was and figure he will become the primary backup at OLB as soon as 2013.
More after the jump.
Back to NFP for some info. Full report here.
He lacks great size and looks a bit narrow through his hips/upper body, but he possesses an athletic build and can really coil up and fire out of his stance. He exhibits natural flexibility in his hips and keeps his base down well off the snap. Plays from a number of stances, but looks comfortable playing with his ball side foot back and exhibits an outstanding first step. He also keeps his base down off the ball, stays low and eats up a lot of grass quickly. Exhibits the speed to routinely threaten the edge, drop his pad level and turn the corner. However, it's his savvy as a pass rusher and change of direction skills that makes him a bear to block. He extends his arms well into contact and loves to reach the edge and re-direct, using his club to slip the block and accelerate quickly inside. Also, he knows how to set up blockers and slow play his pass rush, forcing them to over commit and lunge into contact as he displays impressive short area quickness in order to slip blocks.
With the lack of depth at the OLB position and the fact that Haralson doesn't offer much in the way of rushing the passer, I'd put a guy like Irvin on my list in this draft. You could even bring him on the field WITH Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks to give a speed-rush arsenal for the offensive line to deal with.
As I said before, this team needs future starters, studs, and Irvin looks the part.