When the Oakland Raiders signed Bruce Irvin in 2016 to a four-year $37 million contract, many thought he would assume a pass-rushing heavy role. Even though he produced solid sack numbers, 15 sacks over two seasons, he still dropped in coverage on a consistent basis.
Under Jon Gruden, Irvin will be playing primarily defensive end. He will be expected to focus on getting after the quarterback, something his NFL peers think highly of considering his No. 85 ranking in the NFL top 100.
This switch to defensive end has made Irvin much happier this offseason. He has long set the goal of hitting double digit sacks in a season, but thus far has fallen just short, including twice reaching 8.0 sacks. But this time he seems to really think it can happen.
“When I heard the news of dropping into coverage less, that was the best news to hear!” Irvin told SiriusXM NFL Radio Saturday. “I can drop into coverage, but thats not what I prefer to do. Being strictly a defensive end was music to my ears. Extra reps, can get me over that double digit sack number.”
Irvin has always been a passionate guy, but his enthusiasm seems to be much greater this offseason. He already tweeted about the position move earlier in the offseason, but has since doubled down with the double digit sacks comment.
With the added pass-rushing talent in Arden Key and Maurice Hurst along with Khalil Mack gaining one more year of experience, there is no reason to believe that Irvin won’t reach double digits in 2018.