By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Linebacker is one of Seattle’s favorite items to shop for in the draft, Kevin Pierre-Louis from Boston College becoming the sixth player at that position the Seahawks have taken since John Schneider became their general manager.
The rationale: The Seahawks value speed as much as anything at this position, and there isn’t a linebacker in this draft any faster than Pierre-Louis. He was timed at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, best among all linebackers there according to the results from the league’s website.
Kevin Pierre-Louis | LB | Boston College
|• Height/Weight: 6-1, 234||• Drafted: Round 4, No. 123 overall||• Hometown: Norwalk, Conn.||• Notable: Led all linebackers at the scouting combine with a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and drew a comparison from Seahawks area scout Todd Brunner to 49ers All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman.|
Not only that, but his 28 bench-press repetitions at 225 pounds ranked in the top five among linebackers as did his 39-inch vertical leap. The simple summary: Seattle just drafted the guy who was measured as the most physically gifted linebacker at the scouting combine.
Pierre-Louis started 31 games over his final three years at Boston College, and said he played strongside linebacker as a senior after being on the weakside his first three years. He had six sacks in 2013.
Before anyone tries to figure exactly where he’ll play, remember this team has re-signed one linebacker under Schneider and that was Heath Farwell, a special-teams ace.
Todd Brunner is the Seahawks’ northeast scout, and he called Pierre-Louis his favorite player available in this draft. Brunner also drew a comparison to a linebacker he scouted while with San Francisco.
“NaVorro,” he said.
That would be NaVorro Bowman, who came out of Penn State as a third-round pick in 2010 and played his way into becoming one of the league’s very best linebackers.
The risk: The Seahawks are already well stocked at linebacker. In fact, there’s no guarantee that Malcolm Smith will start, and all he did last season was intercept two passes in the playoffs and earn Super Bowl MVP honors.
He’s undersized at linebacker, standing 6-feet-1 and playing at 220 pounds as a senior. Now in the 230s, there’s no doubt about his athleticism. Pierre-Louis’ first opportunity is bound to come on special teams, a toehold for all rookies.