For the first time in his 6-year NFL career, Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin has made the NFL’s Top 100 list. The 7th year veteran matched a career high 8.0 sacks last season for the Raiders, his second in Oakland.
The is a 2018 ranking and if his numbers continue in the trajectory they have the past three seasons, he should finally reach his annual goal of double digit sacks. He has gone from 5.5 sacks to 7.0 to 8.0 since 2015 when he was in Seattle.
Each of his two seasons in Oakland, he has not enjoyed the luxury of an inside pass rush, something Jon Gruden made specific mention this offseason.
“I like Bruce Irvin, I know Bruce Irvin,” said Gruden at this year’s scouting combine. . . “I think he plays with good effort, we just need to get him some help so he can do the things that he does the best, more often.”
In last weekend’s draft, the Raiders went about adding some interior pass rush by drafting PJ Hall in the second round and Maurice Hurst in the fifth round. They also hope to get better production from the likes of Mario Edwards Jr and Eddie Vanderdoes. Any of which would go a long way to helping free up Irvin to get to the quarterback and therefore live up to his newfound Top 100 status.
Also helping matter for Irvin will be a move from outside linebacker to full time defensive end in Paul Guenther’s 4-3 scheme.
Irvin’s bookend defensive end Khalil Mack will make the Top 100 too, but don’t figure to hear his name until June when the series gets into the top 10 or 20.