By Brady Henderson
Those fretting over Bruce Irvin's underwhelming production during the preseason will like to hear what Peter King of Sports Illustrated said Wednesday.
King told "The Kevin Calabro Show" that he predicts Irvin, the Seahawks' first-round pick, will be the NFL's defensive rookie of the year.
"I like him. He's got speed," King said. "He's going to play more snaps than Aldon Smith did when Aldon Smith had all the sacks last year and was basically the best defensive rookie in the league."
Smith, the 49ers' top pick in the 2011 draft, actually finished a close second in voting for the league's top rookie defender. He had 14 sacks, tied for fifth in the league, while playing mainly as a third-down pass-rushing specialist. Broncos linebacker Von Miller, who won the award, collected 11.5 sacks.
King's prediction suggests Irvin will come close to either of those totals. If preseason stat sheets are any indicator, however, that will be difficult. Irvin doesn't have a sack in three preseason games. He hasn't been credited with a tackle, either, though he was clearly in on one stop against Denver.
Coach Pete Carroll said this week that Irvin's progress has been obvious in practice even though it hasn't led to production in games.
"He's grown in big ways here already," Carroll said, according to 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."
In his conversation with Steve Sandmeyer and Matt Pitman, King also talked about Russell Wilson winning the Seahawks' quarterback competition and what that means for the future of Matt Flynn. The interview can be heard here.