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Bruce Irvin to play linebacker for Seattle Seahawks

When asked about taking Bruce Irvin with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll called him a "carbon copy" of Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.

It's no surprise then that Carroll now plans to switch Irvin from defensive end to strong-side linebacker, according to The News Tribune. Irvin will compete with Malcolm Smith for the starting job, a battle he's expected to win as soon as his four-game suspension expires.

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Carroll believes it will be a natural transition for Irvin, who was the No. 1 defensive player on the Seahawks' draft board a year ago.

"He's extremely versatile, and that's why we've loved him from the start," Carroll explained. "He's really fast. He's 250 pounds, and he's exactly fitting the right kind of body type to play outside backer in the 3-4 system. We're a 4-3 personnel system that plays 3-4 looks. He's extremely valuable for us."

Irvin still will see snaps at defensive end in the nickel package, but this move appears to be a concession that he shies away from contact in the running game. The Seahawks have plenty of depth up front after signing Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and adding Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams in the draft. "Leo" pass rusher Chris Clemons also expects to return from his anterior cruciate ligament injury by Week 1, though Carroll sounded a more cautious note.

The Seahawks already had the league's stingiest defense last season. Getting Irvin, Avril and Bennett on the field at the same time only will make this unit more imposing in 2013.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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