|Irvin ran a 4.43 in his second attempt at the 40 on Monday. (US Presswire)|
When a defensive end/outside linebacker who’s 6-foot-3 and weighs 245 pounds runs an unofficial time of 4.5 in the 40, it’s an impressive feat. When he, in his second attempt, runs an unofficial 4.43, the result is rather mind-blowing.
That’s what former West Virginia standout Bruce Irvin accomplished Monday morning at the scouting combine, easily earning the fastest 40 time among defensive linemen and sending plaudits across Twitter when his times were announced. His official time was clocked at 4.50.
Irvin ranks No. 13 among outside linebackers in the NFLDraftScout.com rankings, and he has a fascinating story. He didn’t play high school football because of academic problems -- in fact, he earned a GED instead of a high school diploma -- and after a stint in junior college, he emerged as a force as a junior at West Virginia, compiling 14 sacks.
“I have a different story than a lot of these guys,” Irvin said this week. “I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Atlanta, dropped out of high school in 11th grade and got in some trouble. I ran with the wrong crowd. I finally saw the light and got my GED, took the test and passed all five parts on the first time. That January I went to school and never looked back.”
But he played less his senior year at West Virginia, coming off the bench in the second half of the season, and his draft stock dropped. Coming into the combine, he was projected as a situational pass rusher, probably as a stand-up linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. The problem there is that he played with his hand in the dirt in college, so there might be an adjustment for him.
But his performance in the 40 isn’t a surprise to CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman, who wrote the following in his analysis of who could put on the best combine performances: “A pass-rushing specialist Irvin plays super fast. According to some of his teammates, he also times that way too. They swear he can run a sub-4.4 at 235 pounds. The question is how much heavier will he been in Indy and has he retained that speed?”
The fact he was listed at 245 pounds and nearly ran a sub-4.4 makes Irvin’s performance Monday even more impressive and very well could move him up on teams' draft boards.
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