After Seattle Seahwaks soon-to-be free agent Bruce Irvin's sudden Twitter following spree for Jacksonville Jaguars fans, writers, and players, the rumors have been flowing like wine.
So now that Bruce Irvin follows Big Cat Country, I feel like it is appropriate to address him directly:
Mr. Irvin, Jacksonville needs you. The people of Jacksonville call your name. We may not have the greatest quality Vine videos, but we do have the greatest quality community, and want nothing more than for you to be a part of it. Make this team better, bring your leadership to this young team, and lead us to victory.
Irvin was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of West Virginia, and played under Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley for one season in Seattle. In his lone season with Bradley, Irvin displayed his talents as a pass rusher, accumulating eight sacks as a rookie.
As his career has continued on, Irvin has moved around as a pass rusher and coverage linebacker, and has thrived in these roles. Irvin has put together a total of 22 sacks, three interceptions and four forced fumbles in his four years with Seattle, and looks to continue putting up these numbers as he enters the prime of his career.
Jacksonville's defensive scheme fits Irvin perfectly. The LEO/OTTO positions as a pass rusher and coverage linebacker are the exact molds for a player like Bruce Irvin to excel in. Whether he's got his hand in the dirt to rush the quarterback or is standing off of the line of scrimmage to drop into coverage, there will always be a spot for Irvin on the field.
Irvin's physicality, as well as speed, is not to be questioned, as seen in the footage below.
This clip is from Irvin's rookie season, when Gus Bradley was calling the plays on defense in Seattle. Irvin is physical off of the line and works Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga until he makes a final push to get to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and records the sack.
Not only did Irvin display his pass rush moves, speed, and skill, but also shows off his power and ability to finish the play.
The next play shows Irvin in coverage against former Rams tight end Jared Cook.
Plays like this are definitely not familiar to those who watch Jaguars football. Not only is Irvin a great pass rusher as a linebacker, but he thrives in pass coverage. Locked in man coverage against Cook, Irvin maintains eye contact with the quarterback for almost the entire play and makes a perfect read as he goes onto intercept the ball.
Speed, awareness, physicality, and the ability to read the quarterback -- all are key instincts that Irvin possesses that makes him a great linebacker.
This last play continues to show how physical and quick Irvin is on the field, and how he truly is a natural pass rusher.
Irvin blows by Rams left tackle Greg Robinson forces the strip sack on a long third down. Considering the situation, Irvin could, and probably should, have dropped into coverage, as it was 3rd-and-25, but in reality, there was no way that Robinson could have stopped Irvin on this bull rush. This is a perfect example of how Bruce Irvin can excel at multiple roles along the defensive front.
Bruce Irvin is about to get paid in free agency, and he damn well deserves it. He is a freak on the field wherever he lines up, and would be the face of the Jaguars defense if he signs with the team.
Free agency is set to begin in a couple days. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on Monday. I can assure you that us Jaguars fans are going to be sleepless in Jacksonville as we refresh our web browsers and check our Twitter feeds next week while waiting for the Jaguars and Irvin to strike a deal.