B is for Bruuuuuuuuuce.
I find it interesting to go back, in retrospect, and take a look at some of the things that were said in the run-up to the Draft that could have alluded to the direction the Seahawks were going. The brain trust of Pete Carroll and John Schneider hinted at the selection of Bruce Irvin in Round 1 at their annual Pre-Draft presser. I have watched this presser two or three times - before and after the draft, and I've watched for Pete and John's responses, but also studied their pauses, body language, change in volume, shifting uncomfortably in their chairs, avoidance, confidence, evasiveness, etc. More than some (or most) front office types, I think that Carroll and Schneider try to tell the truth when answering questions, albeit a heavily veiled truth.
If you're interested, go back and watch along to the Seahawks' pre-Draft presser, found here.
6:10 mark- Schneider piggy backs off of Carroll's response to Danny O'Neil's question about how Carroll grades his USC players in respect to the draft. Pete says that his background knowledge of USC players leads him to "underrate" them because he has extra information about them. Schneider pipes in and says "It's helped with the High School guys for sure." I thought this was interesting because Carroll had a previous relationship with Bruce Irvin, even though he wasn't a "High School guy" - there was a previous relationship and information that had an impact on this draft selection.
7:10 mark- An excellent line of questions being shouted out by Eric Williams. "How do you weigh the value of a player who does a lot of things pretty well versus a player that does one thing really well?" By the actions of this front office - this question has been answered. The whole line of responses to this question is basically an exercise in evasion by both Pete Carroll and John Schneider. The most telling thing was how Schneider smiles at Carroll knowingly and says "Huh" (Like, you nailed it, Eric)..."That's a good one". Actually, both Pete and John say "That's a good question" audibly.
The press conference answer reads like a rabbit trail to nowhere - but the selection of Irvin and the initial reaction to the question answers the question. The Seahawks would rather find a player that does one thing exceptionally well - and find and fit a specific role for that player, than have an all-around solid player that does a bunch of things pretty well, but nothing extremely well. The fact that Seattle spent big time draft capital and money on Bruce Irvin and Red Bryant illustrates this line of thinking perfectly. Pete tries to balance John's response with a reference to "uniqueness" - which I believe is a core value to Carroll.
8:40 mark- "How important is knowing your scheme?" is the followup question from Eric Williams. Both Pete and John quickly admit that knowing your scheme is very important. I think these two questions loom large - and frame the Bruce Irvin selection perfectly. People outside of Seattle really don't know how the Seahawks defensive scheme works.
10:20 mark- In a rambling response to a question about pass rush, uniqueness and fit, Carroll nonchalantly slips in a telling, "We might surprise you a bit with some of our thoughts in that regard." Awesome.
13:37 mark- Jim Moore asks Pete to talk about Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram at this juncture. Pete seems very nonplussed when talking about these two players. Interestingly, Pete calls Melvin Ingram an "inside pass rusher".
14:45 mark- Carroll clowns O'Neil's line of questioning about "outside needs". Pretty funny here, but the thing I notice is that O'Neil is trying to see if Pete is satisfied with the offensive side of the ball - and Pete responds by switching back to the pass rush topic. Pete says, "We need to find a pass rush combination with our guys." After talking about the effectiveness of Chris Clemons Pete again says, "We need to add to that."
Later in the press conference Pete seems to express verbally and non-verbally the fact that he is not impressed with his defensive line in terms of pass rush effectiveness. The draft displayed that sentiment in a strong way. After nailing a Free Agent interior pass rusher in Jason Jones, Carroll and Schneider added 4th Round Draft Pick - Jaye Howard - a situational pass rusher that rushes from the inside, and Greg Scruggs in Round 7 - another situational pass rusher who does not look big enough to initially play as a base defensive tackle.
As an aside - I think the base defensive line looks the same as in 2011 - Bryant, Mebane, Branch and Clemons. The nickel defensive line could look like this in 2012: Irvin, Howard, Jones and Clemons. Basically, you have your run defense defensive line and your pass defense defensive line.
16:40 mark- I can't pin down the voice, but a reporter asks Carroll and Schneider about character concerns. This was a look back at the decision to not select CB Jimmy Smith at 25 in 2011. I don't think they were ever planning on selecting a corner there, but in response of why they didn't select Smith, Schneider said that a year ago - he didn't have an Ed Reed or Ray Lewis to enforce standards and grab a rookie "by the neck."
Schneider talks about certain things that "we can't have in our building" - which I believe is in respect to domestic violence towards women. Carroll pipes in with a classic Carroll worldview (which I share), "Every guy is treated independently." This is a relevant line in regards to Bruce Irvin. They look at every situation individually and search for answers. I said this previously, this regime is not necessarily looking at where a player is today in terms of perfect character, but they factor in how far a person has come in terms of their life hurdles. 17:40 mark- Schneider looks at Pete with that knowing grin (I assume they both know they are thinking about Bruce at this moment) and says that they can allow "college stuff" and talks about a big book of infractions, "parking tickets... and other things."
Breaking a sign outside of a sandwich shop and getting arrested is in the bucket of "other things." If you checked my 1995 police record you would also find a list of "college stuff" and "other things". Amazingly, companies still tend to hire me. Welcome to Seattle Bruce!