Five years ago, Bruce Irvin was arrested for breaking into a drug dealer’s house and spent two weeks in prison. Last month, he was accused of knocking over a magnetic sign that was sitting atop a Pita Pit delivery car and was arrested again. On Thursday night, he became a first-round pick in the NFL draft.
The Seattle Seahawks sprung the first major surprise of 2012 when they selected the West Virginia linebacker with the No. 15 pick. No major mock draft — Shutdown Corner, Sports Illustrated, Mel Kiper, Mike Mayock — had Irvin going in the first round, let alone in the top half of it. Most scouts pegged him near No. 50 in their rankings.
Irvin earned a GED after his first arrest and ended up playing in Morgantown, where he became a fan favorite after racking up more than 40 sacks in his three seasons. He’s a pure pass rusher in a draft devoid of them. Without those red flags, he wouldn’t have been such a question mark.
Earlier this month, Yahoo! Sports’ Les Carpenter wrote a fantastic article on Irvin’s checkered past and bright future.
Bruce Irvin stood in a drug dealer’s house, his gun tucked away, searching for money. It never occurred to him that this might not be the best idea; that somebody might be home, that he might even get shot. In his mind he thought only one thing: “I’m going to get paid.”
This is what Irvin’s life had come to since dropping out of high school, when things started to go wrong and his mother threw him out of her home. By the end of the night he would be in jail, and it appeared likely he would be headed there again, or prison or something worse.
Few expected Bruce Irvin to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft. Then again, few expected Bruce Irvin to do much with his life. Defying the odds is becoming a habit.
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