In his "Sunday Blitz" piece for National Football Post, Dan Pompei includes the following thought in his "Things I Didn't Used To Know" category:
"West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin may be heating up in the draft to the point he could creep into the first round. He is scheduled to take 12 visits to NFL teams. He is appealing both the 3-4 teams as an outside linebacker and 4-3 teams as a defensive end. Among the teams he is visiting are the Bears, Browns, Chiefs, Dolphins, Forty Niners, Jets, Panthers, Patriots, Texans and Titans. Part of the reason so many want to see him is coaches want to put him on the board and watch tape with him, and have a chance to see what makes him tick."
Irvin generated some discussion in the most recent Patriots mailbag on ESPNBoston.com. A good point was raised that some of the dark clouds around Irvin's past might be too much for the Patriots. A counter-point was raised that no prospect is perfect and Irvin seems to have turned things around.
It's possible the Patriots don't have the answer themselves at this point, and that could be part of the reported pre-draft visit.
From a football standpoint, Irvin could be exactly what the Patriots need -- that speed rusher off the edge.
A snippet on Irvin from the Pro Football Weekly Draft preview: "Can run like a scalded dog and is the most explosive pass rusher of any in the draft. Screams off the rock with rare first-step explosion and burst, confirmed in outstanding 10-yard split (1.57 seconds) and broad jump (10 feet 3 inches) at the combine. Very good behind-the-line production. Outstanding bend, burst, agility and closing speed. Clocked the fastest 3-cone drill at the combine (6.70). Plays hard and competes."