Earlier this offseason Bruce Irvin was hit with a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, meaning he will not be available until the Week 5 game at Indianapolis on Oct. 6.
When Irvin does make it back, he’ll be doing so at a new position. Eric Williams of the Tacoma Tribune reports the Seahawks are transitioning the first-round draft pick from 2012 to outside linebacker from defensive end. As a situational pass rusher last season, Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks.
The hope is he’ll be even more productive getting after the quarterback while giving the team versatility. Irvin is permitted to participate in all of training camp and the preseason to work at his new position.
“He’s extremely versatile, and that’s why we’ve loved him from the start,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, per the report. “He’s really fast. He’s 250 pounds, and he’s exactly fitting the right kind of body type to play outside backer in the 3-4 system. We’re a 4-3 personnel system that plays 3-4 looks. He’s extremely valuable for us.”
Irvin is 6-3, 245 pounds and he’s probably not big enough to be effective as an every-down end.
The Seahawks also boosted their depth at end by signing Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency. If Irvin can play in space, he could garner more playing time at linebacker while playing with his hand in the dirt on third down. He should challenge Malcolm Smith for the starting job.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune