Sports Illustrated's Dennis Dillon wrote a wonderful piece about Seattle Seahawks first round pick Brune Irvin, and his interesting tale of how he made it into the NFL.
It all started in high school, when Irvin had issues keeping himself in school and on the field. He played only three high school games as a sophomore at wide receiver in total, but he was stil determined to play. He would eventually transfer schools, become academic ineligible, and get kicked out of his mother's house.
Thus began a miserable 18 month-span for Irvin. He became a teen nomad, moving from one friend's house to another. He hauled around his personal belongings -- usually consisting of some shirts, a couple pairs of shoes and underwear -- in a plastic bag. At one point, Irvin was charged with burglarizing a drug dealer's house and had to spend two weeks in jail.
Irvin wound up at an Atlanta prep school for troubled students, but the institution had to close its doors before he completed his time. That's when Chad Allen came into Irvin's life -- and promptly turned it around.
A former football player at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Allen visited the prep school and spoke with the students. According to Irvin, since he was the last student to leave the school -- he had nowhere else to go -- Allen invited him into his home, where Irvin lived for three months.
With the aid of Allen Irvin earned his GED, got into a junior college, and after two years he would head to West Virginia to play ball, where he caught the eye on the Seahawks immediately. Many saw Irvin as a later round pick, but the Seahawks play by their own rules when it comes to the draft, and have a specific plan for his utilization:
But as general manager John Schneider put it, the Seahawks draft for themselves, not for the rest of the league.
The Seahawks have a plan and a vision for Irvin, 24, who played only two years of Division-I football following a checkered adolescence. He'll back up end Chris Clemons (11 sacks last season) at the "Leo" position, then play opposite of Clemons on pass-rushing downs.
Essentially, it's a 3-4 outside linebacker who rushes the passer about 75 percent of the time. The Leo lines up on the open side, away from the tight end.
Raheem Brock played that position for Seattle last season -- Schneider estimates Brock was on the field for about 65 percent of defensive snaps -- but his contract expired in the offseason and he became a free agent. Hence, the need for Irvin.
Seattle has a vision for how to utilize Irvin, but none of that would have happened it if wasn't for Chad Allen and the game of football.
You can check out Dillon's entire piece on Irvin here.
For more on the Seahawks, head over to Field Gulls and SB Nation Seattle.