NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Bruce Irvin NFL Draft Profile
Bruce Irvin, OLB West Virginia

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Bruce Irvin

Player information:

  • Bruce Irvin, OLB West Virginia
  • 6-foot-3, 245lbs
  • Teammates claim he has run a sub 4.4 40 yard dash

NFL Combine:

  • 4.50 40yd dash
  • 4.03 20 yard shuttle
  • 6.7 3-cone drill
  • 10.25′ long jump
  • 33.5″ vertical jump
  • 23 bench press reps

News & Notes:

Irvin dropped out of High School as a junior and spent 2 years on the streets caught up in the seamy world of drug dealing and robberies. Was arrested and spent a few weeks in jail, where a friend pleaded with him to not waste the physical gifts he was blessed with. Irvin turned his life around, got his GED and enrolled at Mt. San Antonio Junior College. After a season where he recorded 16 sacks, Irvin transferred to West Virginia and spent two seasons there.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post):  A gifted athlete who has the initial burst to routinely reach the edge. However, lacks ideal size and doesn’t have a real sophisticated pass rushing repertoire. Is going to make the move to a 34 OLB at the next level and might need a little time. Reminds me some of the Chris Clemons.

Chad Reuter (CBS Sports):    Despite his lack of experience, Irvin’s athleticism and toughness should give him a chance to be a pass rusher as a 3-4 linebacker at the next level, or possibly a defensive end for the handful of NFL 4-3 teams not minding his lack of size. If he answers questions about his past to NFL scouts’ satisfaction, they may decide to take a chance on his potential in either role with an early-round selection. (Combine): Bruce is a compelling prospect whose athletic ability is as unique as his path to the NFL. An electrifying pass rusher who will fit as either a specialist DE or an OLB in a 3-4 scheme, Irvin uses a flurry of moves and his uncanny athletic ability to maneuver his undersized frame around and through offensive linemen to produce massive sack production in his limited views at West Virginia. A player who is hampered by his size and amount of snaps taken at a high level, Irvin should be selected within the first two rounds of the draft by a team looking for a boost in their ability to get to the quarterback.


Video Analysis:

  • dynamic first step and burst off the snap.
  • Likes to draw the tackle outside with speed and then cut inside, perhaps too often.
  • Needs to learn to use his hands better and develop another move.
  • very active and eager in pursuit
  • Plays contain well – tough for a ball carrier to get outside of him
  • Can get lost in a crowd… best in open space. A pass rush specialist for a 3-4 team.



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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


41 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia

    1. I don’t think he’ll get past the second round. Pass rushers are at a premium – that’s why Jerry Hughes was overdrafted last year.

      1. Hughes was drafted 2 years ago, not last year.
        Also he was not overdrafted. He was misdrafted by a team who put him out of position. He’s not a DE. He’s a natural OLB.
        Aaron Kampman was a natural DE, who was miscast when we switched to a 34.
        DeMarcus Ware would not be nearly as successful if he had been in that Colts system, same with Von Miller.

        Those are two totally different positions and skillsets, duties, required.

        Bruce Irvin is talented as heII and would be a great 2nd round pick for the Packers, and could possibly be taken at 28, considered a reach as taking Matthews in 09 was considered by many pundits at that time.

        His personal problems were a result of his circimstances he was put in due to his upbringing and lack of good parenting.

        He’s now hungry and has a drive to dominate.

  1. Those combine numbers are out of this world. Better than CM3. Just ridiculous athletic ability. He has the agility of the TOP Wr, CB and RB prospects, with OLB size and strenght, both lower and upper body.

    Get this guy. I understand he’s a project, but the draft is not about the present, it’s about the future. 2014 the Packers will have the best pass rush combo in the league. Meanwhile, use him as a situational rusher and it will pay dividends.

    1. This guy is unbelievably fast and strong… I’d be happy to see him on the packers. His speed kind of implies he’d be able to keep up with the new breed of NFL tide end. I’m worried a little about his size… kind of small huh? The only other thing is his history. The packers don’t generally take ex thugs. Maybe he’s really repented his former lifestyle but it has to at least be addressed to the organization. I’d be happy to see him as a packer. Better than Walden.

      1. At the combine he weighted at 245, 5 pounds heavier than Matthews did. And had a faster 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuttle than Matthews.

        The problem is he didn’t play with that weight.

        He really is a very risky prospect, because as Al pointed out, he almost didn’t play on run downs in college. He did play more his senior year, but it’s still to be seen if he can learn the proper technique to play at OLB and not just be a pass rusher a la KGB.

  2. Would a no-huddle offense make it prohibitively difficult to have a rotation at rolb whereby he plays exclusively on passing downs for the first year?

    I would hope that GB would pick up a monster DE to keep linemen off of him as much as possible, or opposing offenses are going to run right at him.

  3. Irvin is all or nothing,he either beats the OT clean or he gets washed out. He does have some strength thOugh for a guy his size. More burst than any OLB by far. Would have to trade up in the second to get him and he is the only OLB I am willing to move up for. MOst talented OLB in the draft, but also the least technique sound of the top guys as well.

    1. I agree he’s an early-mid second rounder. the all or nothing is a bit of an exaggeration, but if if partially true, that can be said of a lot of pass rushers. If you average just one sack a game, you’re going to have Pro Bowl sack numbers. So the real question is, can he be a 3-down player?

      1. Hey Al, is there any way that you can change drafttek so that GB takes Perry in the 1st round instead of Irvin all the time? Its kind of bothering me haha…

          1. That’s better, back to nick Perry in the 1st. Do you think there is any chance of the guys that seem to be slipping way below where they should (like branding Thompson and tons of other 4-3 DTs) actually sliding as far in the draft as they do in the drafttek don? Or is this just a result of the paramaters of the program? Also, when I think of a 3-4 DE, I just look at 4-3 DTs in college. Is this a gross oversimplification?

      2. So, how much do you think his citation for breaking a sign at JJ’s affects his draft stock? Can he be had at the end of the third round now??

  4. If anyone can fix techniques…Kevin Greene can. Give him talent,CMIII, look what he can mold that CLAY into. The other OLB’s that can’t stay on a team or even be drafted, have been molded into servicable players. Take a chance on the guy while we still have Greene around to mold him into the force he can be

  5. No earlier than the end of the 2nd please Ted. 3rd would be better.

    Boom or bust indeed.

      1. you are off of your rocker bubba. ronell lewis complete? he was mainly a special teams guy and Oklahoma just tried to work him in because he was an athlete. Also, if you are talking about dim bulbs do not leave ronell out, he was probably going to be academically ineligible and the oklahoma coaches advised him to go pro. irvin and lewis are not even close for me. irvin is now a borderline first round pick. lewis is a third round pick.

        1. I think Lewis will also get over-drafted (mid-second?) but agree with all your other points. Oklahoma struggled to figure out how to use him effectively. Did a lot of “running around” without a plan, but yes, he can deliver the BIG hit.

        2. I never said I wasn’t off my rocker. They’re both dim bulbs and both will be overdrafted. But I think Ronnell can play in space that’s where the more complete reference came from.

          1. R. Lewis is hardly complete. Irvin will be better in space in a matter of weeks with some tutelage. Lewis has been Olb for many years and yet still is weak in space. Irvin just needs time to grow. I hope we don’t pick R Lewis. Go Pack!

  6. The defense needs two play now guys.Taking Irvin in the 2nd and hoping he can be an effective 3rd down guy is not the way to go..we need more than a one down guy with Clay.
    His playing weight is far different than the combine weight(heavier)and did great in timed drills sure but doing two attempts in drills is far different than an NFL game.
    His upside is/may be there and as a project,I’d wait till 4th and his higher projection is due to lack of considerable talent at 3-4 OLB and reaching for a maybe now(3rd down )guy is wrong and I’d secure another OL spot before taking Irvin at 2nd rd.

    1. this defense was atrocious last year because it could not get to the passer. with a guy like irvin DC could play more base with 3 down lineman. if a defense cannot get to the passer and get there consistently it has no chance in todays NFL. the QBs are too good. if you give them time even the jay cutler’s (above average qb) will pick you apart. i think there are better OLBs in this draft than irvin, but to hope that irvin is going to be there at any point in the mid third to fourth round is like wishing RG3 will be there in the second round.

      1. I’m not hoping he’s there,if he is he is,but there are other OLBs that are/will be just as good IMO as a project at OLB in the 4th rd and later.
        Jacquies Smith,Adrian Robinson,Brandon Lindsay.
        As to the RG3 comparison of hope,Wash made that deal in HOPE of perhaps getting somewhere,we are drafting or possibly making a deal to stay at the top.Our time now isn’t in a one down OLB who might learn a pass rush repertoire,but an OLB who has one and yet can still get better via Greene.
        Vinny Curry will have most asking for him when hype is more dimissed for actual play.

        1. cannot believe you are comparing those guys to irvin. do you really think irvin is a 4th round talent? he has the explosion and flexibility to get the corner consistently, the other guys are not even close. a pass rush repertoire is overrated. if you do not have a go to move you have nothing. everything gets set up off of one thing that a pass rusher does exceedingly well. your go to can be a speed rush, bull rush, club, spin move etc…but it has to be great to set up the other stuff. irvin has a great speed rush.

          i do like curry quite a bit. i think he is a great football player, i just worry that he is one of those guys who has just enough speed to make plays in college but will always be one step too slow in the pros.

  7. Al

    What do you think of Miles Burris. His highlight video on youtube is incredible. he looks fast but he did not run at the combine. he does not look like a prototypical OLB, but man the guy is aggressive, plays down hill, and has a nose for ball. his highlight video makes him look like a first round pick, but i have seen him all over the place. 3 through 6th round. i would love for the pack to get him. I think if he does not work outside he can be moved inside. watch how he just kills the misdirection stuff. looks like he has a great burst.

    1. He looks very “ball aware” and does have a nice burst. he wasn’t even on the draft radar when I did my OLB research a month ago, but have seen him mentioned lately. I don’t want to make an assessment based on a “Highlight” reel, because everything is good. He’s certainly undersized at 235 and what will gaining 20lbs do to his speed? Looking at these highlights, I actually like his inside work more. he’s aggressive and tracks the ball really well, shows very good outside pursuit. I think moving inside could be his best shot at NFL success.

  8. Physical attributes are there. Other issues have to be resolved by the interview process. DD made good with his background on the “streets” but, he was a low round pick. He might be an answer to the ROLB dilema. Worth a try at 3. No higher.

    1. he just will not be there at 3. i think so far his background has checked out really well. from a guy that was dealing drugs and dropped out of HS two years early, getting a GED and playing college FB must have seemed like a thousand miles away. but he did it anyway. GED, juco as a safety and made the move to DE. it is not like this guy had people holding his hand through the whole process. he made the decision to turn his life around.

      1. meant to say, that is another reason i like him. he played JUCO ball as a safety. they moved him for a reason, but even though no one has seen him cover, i think he probably has the ability to do it.

  9. He’s intriquing,but we can do better in the first round. Then the best player available unless a good 3-4 DE falls to us.Now if we reverse these positions than Irvin might make sense in the 2nd. LOl, it really gets complicated,but that’s what makes it fun. It’s a shame Mathis signed with the Colts ,I thought he could have been just what we needed at OLB.

  10. I’d take him in the 2nd. 3 cone drill is more important for an OLB than the 40 time, and MAN. You can’t teach that. He’s got enough raw talent to take him in the 2nd. And I’m not worried about this kid’s character. He had a life-altering breakthrough moment.

  11. I’m amazed how many times the words “can’t teach that” is used in reference to speed,agility etc.
    What is and what is the basis of “training”?
    The learning through repetition how to harness,utilize and increase the benefit of an ability bestowed on a person.
    Knowing how to exercise the power of a natural talent is done by…learning by being taught how to use it.
    A horse is born with the ability to walk and run day one but,if to be used in racing,it’s trained to achieve the most…we are trained/taught from day one.
    Speed is taught/learned through training.

    1. Training can only bring an athlete to his utmost potential.

      You can not train someone to become stronger, faster, more agile than their potential.

      That is the meaning of the statement.

      Basically, a player has to have the god-given genetic talent.. You either have the potential or you don’t. Training can only do so much. For most of these kids, they have close to maximized their speed and agility over the years. Strength is the one area where the development to full potential can continue on into their late 20’s and beyond.

    2. Nowadays, all the players that enter the combine are pretty much maxed out, physically-wise.

      They can learn pass rush moves, they can learn how to control their bodies better, but they cannot become more agile or faster, in most cases.

    3. These guys are highly regarded college football players. Mostly, they have been in football since they were children or at least by high school (with the exception being this guy. he had a VERY unusual past). They trained the entire time and hit college ball and recieved the best training around for 3-4 years. To expect them to become much more athletic than they are when they go to the pros is almost laughable. They can and must improve their technique but they’re not going to get much faster or stronger after becoming a pro than they are coming out of college. Anyone who wants to split hairs I’m sure you can find an exception but in general a person has the physical ability or less physical ability that he has coming out of college for his entire career.

  12. SchenySchen still pimping vinny curry for our first round pick. More immediate help than Irvin. Still love the idea of trading James jones to a #2 receiver needy team like Cleveland/Cincinnati/Houston for a 2nd round pick to get a large body d-lineman like jerel worthy or Kendall Reyes. GoPack!

    1. at the combine he was 6-2 and 246, that is good enough size for me outside… he also has large hands…9 and 7/8.

      we bunting has had him ranked relatively high for a while…around 10th best olb or so. i love his balance. as you said it is a highlight tape, but he is like a wrestler when guys try to cut him. if nothing else he looks like he will be a freak on special teams.

      1. the comment above was in regards to miles burris, not curry.

        i do like curry though. he looks like a beast on film, but 4.98 is slow. it will be interesting to see if the 3-4 teams are willing to overlook that time. according to bunting and one other guy, 4.85 in the 40 is a cutoff point in the 40 for oLBs.

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