Seahawks Insider

Michael Irvin on Crabtree

Post by Eric Williams on Feb. 1, 2009 at 9:01 am with 28 Comments »
February 1, 2009 9:01 am


With mock drafts currently listing the Seattle Seahawks drafting Michael Crabtree, I decided to try and roundup some more information on him. And who better to talk to but Michael Irvin, a friend of the Crabtree family and one of the people advising the redshirt sophomore as he prepares for the upcoming April draft.


Crabtree, who recently announced he’s entering this year’s draft, is working out with Olympic champion sprinter Michael Johnson and receiving advice from Irvin and Deion Sanders as he prepares for the combine and his pro day. Crabtree will not run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but will run at his Pro Day.



Even after the gaudy numbers and spectacular plays Crabtree has put together over his college career, and his two Fred Biletnikoff awards as the best college in the country, there are still lingering questions about the talented receiver.


Is he fast enough?


Is he injury prone?


Is he a system player?


Irvin addressed some of those issues in a conversation I had with him during Super Bowl week.


"I think he’s going to be a phenomenal player in this league, but he has to fall into the right system," Irvin said. "You cannot put a big guy like Crabtree in a system that caters to small receivers, what I call a scat system. You have to put him in a system where his size and strength can be used to his advantage.


"This is what confuses me a lot of times. When you talk about players and where they would play and how would they perform, people tend to think that you can take any player and play him anywhere, if he’s a true player. But true success comes when you put a player in a system that fits his talent. And his talent, he’s a big guy. So put him in a timing offense. Let him run some out routes, timing routes. Get the ball in his hands and let these DBs fall off of him because he’s such a big, strong runner. He reminds me a lot of Anquan Boldin. And I love Boldin. He’s a beast. And so is Crabtree.


"In this game now, when you’ve got a guy who can run like that, go and get the ball and you can’t touch him after five yards anymore? Oh God, that’s advantage offense all the way right there."


Not necessarily a burner himself, but now in the Hall of Fame and considered one of the best receivers to play the game, Irvin said the speed question should be considered in a larger, overall perspective.


Irvin talked about game speed, and maintaining speed over the course of the game. He said some guys are running 4.4 40-yard dashes at the beginning of the game, but their speed decreases through the course of the contest and they’re slower in the fourth quarter. Irvin believes that Crabtree has the kind of endurance and strength to maintain his speed throughout the game, and that he makes plays with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.


"The difference between a 4.7 and a 4.5 (is this)," Irvin said, quickly snapping his fingers twice. "You can barely get it on your hands if you pressed your thumb and pressed it again. … And we discount game speed, and we discount strength.


"I don’t just want to know your speed in the first quarter. I want to know your speed in the fourth quarter because I’m not winning any games in the first quarter. This guy, Michael Crabtree has fourth quarter speed."


He also said Crabtree would be a good fit in the West Coast offense because of his ability to run after the catch, and compared Crabtree’s running ability to Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens, who both played in the West Coast offense in San Francisco. Irvin joked that he wished he would have had a chance to play in the West Coast offense, but couldn’t look back with too much disappointment because he has three Super Bowl rings.


"That system fits," Irvin said. "That’s a timing system that allows him to put the ball in his hands as early as you can and let him go do what he can do with it. And you know he has some RAC ability — some run after catch. So for him, that’s a great system."


Irvin talked about the reality TV show he’ll host, which pits six receivers against six defensive backs for a chance to earn a spot on the Dallas Cowboys’ 80-man training camp roster.


Listen to the full conversation with Irvin here.

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Seahawks Insider
Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. pabuwal says:

    Jenkins or Crabtree?

    For 10 years under Holmgren, Seahawks fans have lived in fear of:

    1). Blowing 4th quarter leads
    2). Allowing big, game altering pass plays on a regular basis
    3). Allowing 3rd and long conversions

    Numbers 2 and 3 came into play during the Super Bowl and on a regular basis the past 10 years. Who can help stop this?

  2. I hate the prima donna players who are too good to work out at the combine. I know there’s plenty of them to wait for their pro days, but I don’t understand why they can’t do it when most other players do it as well.

    Add that to the fact that Michael Irvin is a close family friend and I’m a bit scared off by him.

    Irvin is a family friend (cocaine).

    Crabtree’s roommate was arrested this last year for coke.

    I smell a non-Ruskell guy.

  3. Is Irvine being paid to promote Crabtree? He seems to be chiming abnout once a week.

  4. Bobo2o6 says:

    Graham Harrell was a system player. He proved it at the senior bowl. I think Michael had to slow down and wait for the football on deep plays. 40yard time shouldn’t be that important. The Saints #1 WR isn’t a burner and drafted in the 7th round because of it. He’s big, makes catches over the middle and break tackles.

  5. I know the Rams OL sucks, but I’m starting to think they will take Crabtree. The economy is in the toilet and an OL isn’t going to generate excitement and sell tickets, but a playmaker like Crabtree will fill more seats and sell plenty of jerseys. I know winning is more important than anything and you have to have a good OL to win, but they could go there with the 2nd/3rd rounds. If they do think Crabtree is a stud playmaker, they may want to take him so he won’t fall to a divisional rival (us) and try covering him twice a year (or 3 times as in ’04). It’s going to be interesting…

  6. Dukeshire says:

    Say what you will about Irvin’s personal issues, he’s nothing if not entertaining. Watching him and Steve Young on ESPN was classic. Talk about 2 completely disparative elements. I digress. I don’t think any association he may have with Crabtree sears the ‘Hawks away, I don’t think they take him for other reasons. Most notably; greater need at other positions (o line, secondary, d line).

  7. Dukeshire says:

    Holmgren is on NBC right now. I would give anything if he would reach over and choke the life out of Collinsworth.

  8. itscarlstime247 says:

    Crabtree is gonna participate in the combine. He’s going to do everything the 40-yard dash. And no, many players skip certain drills quite frequently. You gonna call him a prima donna for that?

    By the way, the 40-yard dash is so overrated. Larry Fitzderald, Plaxico Burress, and even Jerry Rice ran 4.6′s.

  9. We have plenty of need at WR. Crabtree would be a huge boost to our team. He is more of a game breaker than anyone else we could draft there.

  10. snydro22 says:

    BobbyK, way to read walterfootball.com and then regurgitate what they say as your own original thought. DId you ever work for the Boston Globe? You are a genius. Get a life.

  11. maddog12 says:

    Any of the spots ahead of Hawks could draft Crabtree. That is why several prospects should be considered then go BPA based on the list that was developed.

    I wonder if there is any way the Hawks shock, at least me and go QB at 4? Say if Stafford and or Sanchez are there and Crabtree/Jenkins are not?

  12. snydro – I just read that. That’s kind of funny. I have been on that site before, but that wasn’t written when I was there. He never had them (Rams) taking Crabtree the last time I was on there. Welcome back to the blog though! How was your season of basically quitting on the team once they proved they suck? Time for a little optimism again?

  13. There’s also the tendency of defensive coaches to draft offense (& vice versa).
    Unless Spagnola is more comfortable with Rams offense than he thinks he can get
    improvement from his players on defense, he may draft his team’s next Plaxico Burris
    to go along with Tory Holt, (unless they trade for Plaxico). If Orlando Pace can get
    healthy for one more year, they may be looking at the 2010 draft or free agency
    (Gross, et al) for cheaper (better value) OL guys. If he looks at Rams D as incapable
    of performing his defense, he may go Jenkins or Curry. Looks like they’re serious about
    Crabtree, though.

  14. Dukeshire says:

    snydro22 – LOL. The anger. I guess without Frank someone has to be your whipping boy. Don’t take it personally BobbyK. I can’t thank you enough for your role in helping show Frank the door, er, retiring. Well done and welcome back.

  15. QB_Sneak says:

    Crabtree is so attractive, it’s hard not to root for the Hawks taking him. But I can’t shake the feeling he’s like a hot girl you know is going to cheat on you.

    I say sign Hoosyourmama and draft Jenkins.

  16. snydro22 says:

    Quitting on the team, BobbyK? So if I think a blog sucks and I don’t post every 15 minutes on it like you, that means I quit on my team? Well, I guess I quit on them. My bad. Can I get back on the bandwagon now?

    Dukeshire, I have to admit I cracked a smile when I read that Frank was on his way out, but I can’t take any credit for it. I wrote letters to the editors, made his life miserable and constantly begged for him to be replaced by Eric Williams or Ryan Divish – but ultimately it was his own lack of work ethic that sealed his fate. Eric Williams will bring this blog back to where it belongs. I have total faith in that.

  17. I think it makes more sense to take a guy like Hakeem Nicks in the 2./3. round he does everything good, is not outstanding at anything but he can make plays, run routes, block, jump, run, and catch the ball + he’s got great work ethic and wants it, i love that guy and i’m actually more stoked about Nicks than Crabtree

  18. oceanic says:

    A sleeper WR I really like in the draft is Jordan Norwood of Penn St. Not a big guy (5 11, 176) but great hands.

  19. Leroyhill says:

    I was skeptical about hearing what Irvin has to say about Crabtree because of his association with Crabtree’s family. But he actually offered an interesting take about endurance and being able to run a certain speed throughout the game. That’ s a positive spin for guys who can’t run fast. I don’t know how true that is, but it is an interesting one nonetheless. Irvin is quite thought provoking but still being reasonable.

  20. Dukeshire says:

    snydro22 – I don’t know if you were still around when he called me out after one of my posts. It was late in the preseason. So many here were quick to jump on his bandwagon and hammer me. But I’ll tell you this, he was useless and I took his tongue lashing with a certain level of pride.

  21. snydro22 says:

    I quit posting on here when he was literally deleting each one of my posts, regardless of the content. I guess the truth hurt.

    I think Hakeem Nicks and some of those other guys (beyond the top 4 WR’s) will be great projects and have some potential, but the percentages say they will most likely be quality #2 receivers in the league. Everyone can point at a Colston or a Housh to make a case for the late pick who blossoms, but that is more the exception than the rule. A guy like Crabtree, or Maclin, can carry your team and open up the running game and really take your offense to the next level. Look at Fitzgerald and Boldin in Arizona. If you replace those two guys with two “good at everything but not great at anything 2/3 round pick” wideouts, they may still have won the division in this down year for the NFC West, but they don’t make it out of the first round.

  22. Well Boldin was a third as well, if i remember correctly….

  23. snydro22 says:

    Actually, Boldin was a 2nd rounder – but he was a little different because he split time at QB/WR and only played in like 20 games at WR in college. And he had some issues at the combine. But I think the consensus at the time was that he was a superior athlete who could be a great WR, he just slipped out of the first round because people thought he was a project. Turns out he wasn’t, and he was rookie of the year.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Hicks could be a good solid WR. I’ve read some comparisons to Dwayne Bowe, and he has good size and good hands. I didn’t follow NC that closely, but I know a lot of people think he was the best WR on the team as a redshirt sophomore, and they had a really good trio of athletes.

  24. I’m a NC fan, and i’ve followed him closely, and i think he is a perfect fit for the system i suspect we are going to play in, and i think he will improve even more, his devlopment this year is stunning!

  25. Hawks51 says:

    The reason Crabtree is not running th e40 at the combine is so he can rest he can fully come back from his ankle injury. And I have to agree with many things that Irvin said. And I also agree with whoever said that he must have waited for his passes cause Harrell has NO arm strenth at all.
    I would be all for Crabtree on the Hawks. We need a gamebreak on our team.

  26. Hawks51 says:

    Also thanks to Eric for all the info at the Superbowl. Lots of good interviews!

  27. HawkFromDay1 says:

    I’m down in NC too, and Hakeem Nicks is a game-breaker. Terrific player. The snag I see with him, is that he’ll go between Rd 1-20 and Rd2 – 1. I don’t think he’ll be there when we pick in Rd. 2, and he’s a massive reach with our #4 overall.

    I’d love to trade down to like 10-15, which the way things are going, Orakpo will still available there.

    This draft will make or break the Ruskell era.

  28. snydro22 says:

    It’ll make it. This offseason will make it. I have faith.

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