The Seahawks appear to have hit a home run in drafting Russell Wilson in the third round of the draft.
Their first-rounder, however, is still standing at the plate with the bat on his shoulder.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin, the 15th overall selection, has yet to record a sack or even a tackle in the preseason, casting doubt on a pick many wondered about in April.
But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he sees growth beyond the stat sheet, and isn’t worried.
“He’s grown in big ways here already,” Carroll said, via Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times. “Hopefully we’ll see this week. I won’t be surprised at all if he has some real quality rushes.
“In the game last week, if you go back, he really was close enough to have four sacks in the game.”
Four is a lot different than zero, and he’ll need more than attractive near-misses to dispel the doubts this year. Carroll cited stats coaches kept from practice, saying Irvin was among their top players there.
“Bruce was the most productive guy in practice throughout the camp,” he said. “We keep score of that stuff, and he was the highest-ranked guy in terms of productivity. That’s in sacks and tackles for losses and knocking balls loose and all that stuff.”
It could be that Irvin is simply overwhelmed with information at this point, as many rookies are. It’s obvious he has the physical gifts to pass-rush, and if the Seahawks can narrow his responsibilities this year the way the 49ers did with Aldon Smith (14.0 sacks as a third-down specialist), he has the potential to get on the scoreboard soon.