The Seahawks added another “lunch pail player” in linebacker Ben Burr-kirven. These are guys that “just play ball”, but BBK is much more than that.
With the fourth pick of round five in the 2019 draft, the Seahawks added a player that many draft experts saw as a seventh-round pick. Some even projected the former Husky linebacker to go undrafted. Those that did like him saw him as another of those classic lunch pail players. You know, the guys who never take a play off, who give their team all they’ve got every game. Ben Burr-kirven is definitely all that, but he’s so much more as well.
BBK is 6’0″, 230 pounds and clocked a 4.56 in the combine. His relative small size and lack of true burner speed pushed him far down most draft boards, if not completely off. Size and speed are important measuring sticks, no doubt; if they weren’t, no one would list them. But the best measure of a football player should be how well he plays the game. And very few linebackers played the game better than BBK in 2018.
As a senior for the University of Washington Huskies (nice to finally be able to type that), BBK had two sacks, two interceptions, six pass defenses and five and a half tackles for a loss. Nothing amazing there, until I add that those 5.5 tackles were just part of his 176 total tackles on the season. Huskies fans already know this, but Burr-kirven’s motor is always on. Those 176 tackles led the nation, by the way. BBK also forced four fumbles and recovered three. We all know how Pete Carroll loves to force turnovers, so there should be no surprise he wanted this guy.
Undersized, too slow? I give you former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zachary Michael Thomas. Thomas was 5’11” and 228 pounds. Thomas was also a fifth-round selection, another guy who was too small for the NFL, but balled out every play. All he did was play 13 years, play in seven Pro Bowls, and rank fifth all-time in career combined tackles. Now I don’t expect Ben Burr-kirven will have a career like Thomas. But I bet BBK does, and that’s all that matters.