Tag:Aaron Curry
Posted on: September 28, 2011 4:05 pm
 

The curious disappearance of Aaron Curry

When the Seattle Seahawks selected outside linebacker Aaron Curry out of Wake Forest with the fourth overall pick of the 2009 draft most believed they'd added the safest pick of the class.

Two years and two games later, Aaron Curry was benched in favor of 2011 fourth round pick KJ Wright.

Now, there is plenty of speculation that the Seahawks are looking to unload the former Butkus-award winner. Some believe the team will even consider cutting Curry outright should the team not get a suitable offer before the trade deadline.

Like virtually every one else, I lauded Seattle's selection of Curry at the time. I had done my research on Curry and virtually every scout I've grown to trust felt the same about him -- he was a future Pro Bowler. 

Blessed with an incredible combination of size, strength and speed, Curry had lit up ACC foes and confirmed his remarkable athleticism with one of the most impressive all-around Combine performances from a linebacker in league history. The former Wake Forest star and I even collaborated on a four-part journal in the months leading up to the draft so I felt comfortable recommending him as a person as well as a prospect.

In a little more than two seasons with the Seahawks, Curry's athleticism, size and strength were obvious, but so too was his lack of instincts. The big plays that had characterized his career with the Demon Deacons suddenly disappeared.

So what happened?

My theory is that I (and, of course, many others) simply missed on Curry. He was a dominant force at outside linebacker in the 4-3 in college largely due to his extraordinary athleticism. Because of his range, Curry was able to beat backs to the outside. His burst upfield made him theoretically a dangerous pass rusher (he was rarely asked to rush in college) and his instincts and ball skills made him a terror in coverage (six career interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns). Curry was also surrounded by talent. Three other Demon Deacons were drafted with Curry in 2009. None of them -- cornerback Alphonso Smith, safety Chip Vaughn and inside linebacker Stanley Arnoux -- have since gone on to enjoy anything close to the pro success that the teams that drafted them had envisioned. Wake Forest had never had four players from one side of the ball ever drafted in a single year. They haven't since. With such rare talent, I believe all four Wake Forest defenders had their strengths highlighted and their weaknesses minimized, leading to inflated grades for all of them.

There are three other thoughts I have on Curry.

One, is that there were warning signs. Curry displayed a troubling tendency to over-run plays even in college. This has been a problem in Seattle, as well. Too often, he's been in position to make the play, but has over-pursued and allowed a cutback lane or bitten hard on play-action and been beaten. This fact led to some (including long-time NFLDraftScout.com draft biographer Dave Te Thomas) to question how well Curry would handle NFL speed playing outside linebacker in a 4-3.

Second, the 2009 draft class simply wasn't that good. Consider that the first 11 picks of the draft were:

Matt Stafford -- Detroit Lions
Jason Smith -- St. Louis Rams
Tyson Jackson -- Kansas City Chiefs
Curry -- Seattle Seahawks
Mark Sanchez -- New York Jets
Andre Smith -- Cincinnati Bengals
Darrius Heyward-Bey -- Oakland Raiders
Eugene Monroe -- Jacksonville Jaguars
B.J. Raji -- Green Bay Packers
Michael Crabtree -- San Francisco 49ers
Aaron Maybin -- Buffalo Bills

If you're reading this, you're an NFL Draft fan. I don't need to tell you that a disproportionate number of these high picks have since struggled in the NFL.

Finally,  I continue to believe Curry can be successful in the NFL. At 6-2, 254 pounds with long arms, he has the frame to consider moving inside. Curry's biggest problem is his lack of instincts. Therefore, I do not believe he'd be successful in Seattle (or inside for any other 4-3 team). However, if protected by another inside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, Curry could still do what he does best -- create explosive collisions and chase down ball-carriers from behind.

It is a theory that Thomas had prior to Curry being drafted... one that more of us, apparently, should have heeded.

Here is Thomas' summary (and interesting comparison) for Curry:

AARON CURRY -- Like the Chiefs finally realized with Johnson, hopefully the NFL team that drafts Curry will do likewise and play him in the middle. He has very good athleticism making plays in front of him, but bites often on play-action, lacks good depth playing in the zone and is a bit too stiff to generate the sideline-to-sideline range to make impact plays on the outside, where he struggles to stop the runner's forward momentum. He can clog the rush lanes when he stays low in his pads. Put him inside in a 3-4 alignment and he can be equally productive getting to the quarterback as he did in college. Play him on the outside and he will be exposed in a quick and deep passing game. Compares to: Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs


For those who don't recall, Johnson was widely viewed as a bust early in his career while playing outside linebacker for the Chiefs, which ran a 4-3 defense. He has since improved his level of play while playing inside linebacker for the Chiefs' 3-4 alignment.

Should Curry get another chance elsewhere, don't be surprised if he, too, enjoys a career rejuvenation -- especially if he goes to a team that caters to his unique strengths (and hides his unfortunate weaknesses). 


Posted on: August 10, 2010 8:36 pm
 

NFL Breakout Sophomores -- my picks

Chris Steuber is a new addition to the NFLDraftScout.com family and has already done a fantastic job of helping Chad Reuter and I keep new content on the site even though the season hasn't yet even begun.

His most recent article, "Second Year Players From The 2009 Draft Who Could Take Off" is an interesting read. Chris highlights a player from each of the 2009 draft's seven rounds that he feels could enjoy significantly better "sophomore" seasons than their rookie campaigns.

It is an interesting enough idea that I thought I'd jump in on the conversation. I mean no disrespect to Chris. Quite the opposite, actually. As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery.

I just have some different opinions as to some second year players who may "breakout" in 2010 and thought the group would make for an interesting blog post.

Feel free, as always, to comment...

First Round: Chris Wells, RB, Arizona -- I strongly considered several others for this role. I anticipate big second seasons from several players who, quite frankly, were disappointments their rookie seasons. Chris picked OLB Aaron Maybin for the Bills. The same logic he uses for Maybin I believe could be used to argue for fellow OLBs Aaron Curry (Seattle), Robert Ayers (Denver) and Larry English (San Diego). I'm going instead with Beanie Wells, however. I don't even necessarily expect that the former Buckeye star will start early in the season as I'm among those who feel Tim Hightower rarely gets his due. That said, there is no denying the impact Wells made as the Cardinals finished their season. With Arizona moving to a more run-heavy offense this year, I expect Wells to emerge as one of the NFC's better young backs.

Second Round: Patrick Chung, S, New England -- There were few players I raved about more frequently than Chung prior to the 2009 draft. The former Oregon star hardly took the NFL by storm as a rookie, but let's be honest, adjusting to Bill Belichick's defense can take even the savviest of players a year to get comfortable. Just wait. I'm not wrong on this kid.

Third Round: Deon Butler, WR, Seattle -- Butler emerged as one of the few bright spots on an otherwise slow and unathletic Seattle receiving corps as a rookie. He's been a star in OTAs and training camp so far this summer. Rookie Golden Tate is getting all of the attention, but don't be surprised if this is the undersized speedster who emerges as the Seahawks' most consistent big play threat in 2010.

Fourth Round: Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville -- Thomas only started four games for the Jaguars as a rookie, but still shattered the team's record for rookie receptions (48) and receiving yards (453). Sure, his size (5-8, 198) isn't intimidating, but Thomas has the agility and toughness to play well despite a less than ideal frame. He's also been lighting up practices thus far in training camp. Perhaps most importantly, he's already earned David Garrard's trust.

Fifth Round: Javon Ringer, RB, Tennessee -- Ok, for this one Chris and I agree. The Titans decision to trade away LenDale White and yet not aggressively pursue another big back in the draft or free agency gives me the impression that Jeff Fisher and his staff realized the same thing I did when reviewing Ringer: while he may lack size, he certainly doesn't lack for toughness. Ringer isn't going to take away too many of Chris Johnson's touches, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him emerge as the club's primary backup to their superstar.

Sixth Round: Brice McCain, CB, Houston -- I fully recognize that the Texans weren't so overcome with McCain's talent that they ignored cornerback early in the draft. Their first round pick, Kareem Jackson, is a terrific talent who I believe will quickly help erase the negative feelings left behind by now-Atlanta Falcon Dunta Robinson. However, I'm a sucker for quick feet and McCain certainly has those. He may never emerge as a standout starter, but I think he has the agility to be a heckuva nickel corner for a long time.

Seventh Round: Lance Louis, OG, Chicago -- Disrespect Mike Tice's ability as a head coach all you want. For my money, there aren't three better offensive line coaches in the NFL than the former starting NFL tight end. Louis was graded by some as a tight end or H-back coming out of San Diego State, but the Bears took a chance on him last year. Now, Tice believes Louis has a real chance at earning the starting right guard position. With his athleticism and the Bears' focus on the passing game under Mike Martz, Louis could surprise.
Posted on: April 4, 2010 10:49 pm
 

Biggest loser in McNabb trade? Jimmy Clausen

Over the past few weeks there has been increasing talk in the scouting community that the Washington Redskins were going to do something at the quarterback position. With the draft less than a month away, I (and the league personnel I'd spoken with) generally presumed that the Redskins would focus their quarterback search there. With Sam Bradford essentially unattainable , the belief was that Washington would select Jimmy Clausen with the 4th overall pick.

Obviously, Washington went in another direction with their quarterback search, landing Donovan McNabb for their 37th overall selection in the 2010 draft and a conditional 3rd-4th round pick in 2011.

And because the Redskins filled their need at quarterback, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen could see a significant drop on draft day.

Considering the big contract signed by Matt Cassell last year, the Chiefs aren't likely to reunite Charlie Weis and Clausen with the fifth pick. Similarly, the Seahawks gave up too much in trade and contract money for they to be likely to use the sixth overall pick on the Irish passer. Cleveland president Mike Holmgren has publicly admitted that he's not a huge Clausen fan. The Raiders won't take him with JaMarcus Russell still drawing checks.

The only obvious contenders in the top ten are the final two teams within it -- the Buffalo Bills at No. 9 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 10. With neither of these clubs guaranteed to take the hotly debated Clausen, his "slip" on draft day could prove even steeper.

The slip from the potential 4th overall choice to No. 9 doesn't sound that significant until you look at the contracts.

Assume for a moment that Clausen would have been the 4th overall choice. He likely would have signed a deal slightly better than the one received by last year's 4th overall pick, Aaron Curry. Curry signed a six year deal for 60 million, including 34 million guaranteed.

The ninth overall pick last year, nose guard BJ Raji, signed a five year deal with Green Bay for 28.5 million, including 18 million guaranteed.
Posted on: March 16, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Seahawks tip hand by cutting FS Grant?

Last year the Seahawks made it clear they were targeting Wake Forest outside linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth overall pick by trading away their incumbent starter at the position, veteran Julian Peterson to the Detroit Lions days before the draft.

Are they making a similar statement this year by cutting safety Deon Grant?

Some will point out that Grant was due four million in 2010 and that the Seahawks' pass defense ranked 30th in the league last year. Grant, however, was arguably the team's most consistent player in the secondary last year and was a solid addition to the team since signing as a free agent three years ago. He was a team captain last year.

Without Deon Grant on the roster, the Seahawks' most experienced safety is Jordan Babineaux, a hybrid corner, who has flashed potential and impressed with his occasional big plays, but has struggled as an open field tackler.

Might the release of Grant signal that the Seahawks are looking heavily at Tennessee safety Eric Berry with the sixth overall pick?

Or that Pete Carroll is positioning himself to take his former All-American Taylor Mays with the 14th pick?

Perhaps Seattle, as Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune suggests , is just starting a salary cap purge with Grant.


 

Posted on: April 25, 2009 4:30 pm
 

KC takes Tyson Jackson, Seattle on the clock

Some will characterize Jackson as a surprise to the Chiefs, but Jackson, the preeminent 5-technique of this draft, makes sense as the Chiefs transition from a 4-3 to 3-4 scheme.

The Seahawks are now on the clock. They are considering the following 4 players with this pick.

A. Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
B. Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
C. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
D. Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

The Seahawks, like every other team this high, is hoping to trade out of the pick. Denver is a possibility. The Broncos and Redskins are possibilities.

Ultimately, if Seattle is unable to trade out, they'll likely take Curry, the safest combination of athleticism and character of this draft. Curry also fills a clear need given the trade of Julian Peterson to the Lions and the fact that current franchise-tagged linebacker Leroy Hill has yet to sign his tender with the Seahawks.
Posted on: April 25, 2009 4:20 pm
 

St. Louis takes Jason Smith, KC on the clock

As expected, the Rams took the ultra-athletic Jason Smith with the second pick, putting the Chiefs on the clock.

The Chiefs selection at #3 is there this draft could go haywire. Scott Pioli is actively trying to trade this pick and could have interest from clubs looking to get ahead of Seattle, who could take WR Michael Crabtree, QB Mark Sanchez, or LB Aaron Curry.

Ultimately, the Chiefs are going to struggle to trade this pick, which likely forces them to consider one of three options here:
A. LB Aaron Curry
B. DE Tyson Jackson
C. OT Eugene Monroe

Each would fill an area of concern for the Chiefs. Ultimately, the safest and best fit for the Chiefs is Jackson, who could give Kansas City a Ty Warren-like presence at defensive end.
Posted on: April 24, 2009 7:20 pm
 

OT that slips by STL could keep slipping...

It is generally assumed that the St. Louis Rams are going to take one of the top tackles with the second overall pick. The consensus is that the pick will be either Baylor's Jason Smith or Virginia's Eugene Monroe.

The tackle not selected by the Rams could take a serious tumble down the board, according to the latest rumors circulating throughout the league.

The Chiefs will consider one of the tackles, especially Monroe, I'm told. However, most believe the Chiefs have locked in on either Wake Forest linebacker or LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson with third pick and will allow either tackle to continue to slide past.

Seattle also has concerns along the offensive line and are thought to be higher on Jason Smith. Still, they seem to be focused more, at this point, on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Curry, should he remain available.

Cleveland, is obviously set at left tackle with young Pro Bowler Joe Thomas, but may consider one of the tackles for the right side. The fifth overall pick on a right tackle seems is pretty steep, however, especially when insiders suggest the Browns are locking in on either Sanchez or Boston College defensive tackle BJ Raji.

Cincinnati would seem like the logical landing point for the tackles, but I'm told offensive line coach Paul Alexander loves Andre Smith and wants to take him over any other tackle in this draft. Few teams take their position coaches' opinions into account more than the Bengals, and it isn't difficult to understand why, considering the success the Bengals have had in developing several quality (non-first round) offensive linemen over the years, including Eric Steinbach, Stacy Andrews and Andre Whitworth, among others...

The Raiders certainly need help along the offensive line, but I'm told Al Davis is going to devote much of the draft towards acquiring weapons for JaMarcus Russell... I'd argue that protecting his blindside would be a good way to towards helping Russell out, but the Raiders think differently than most teams on draft day and seem to be leaning towards a receiver...

The Jaguars could be the first realistic option for the falling tackle -- and even they are certainly no lock considering the fact that they signed Tra Thomas in free agency... Watch out for a small trade up from Green Bay (#9) or San Francisco (#10) who would each welcome the falling tackle on their team.

Considering the tackle passed by St. Louis at #2 could be available this late, some lucky team may be poised to be one of the few top ten drafting teams to actually get a bargain on draft day.
Posted on: April 22, 2009 11:27 am
Edited on: April 22, 2009 12:41 pm
 

Clark Judge is Right, Seattle Dictates the Draft

 

 My colleague Clark Judge penned an intriguing article, whose link is provided below, which theorizes that the Seahawks essentially will control the top half of the draft based on who they select with the fourth overall pick. 

He believes the three options the Seahawks will consider are OT Eugene Monroe (or Jason Smith, if Monroe is the tackle the Rams take at #2), WR Michael Crabtree and QB Mark Sanchez.

I've agree, but feel he's wrong on the three candidates Seattle is considering.

I believe Aaron Curry will be available and very much in consideration for the Seahawks, along with Sanchez and Crabtree. I believe that OT is less of a need for the Seahawks than has been reported.

If Tim Ruskell sticks with his own history of selecting high character, four year starters from BCS conferences, Curry is the pick. Certainly Curry is a need, considering the trade of Julian Peterson. Curry's strengths make him a perfect fit for the OLB position in the 4-3 scheme. If Curry is not selected by Seattle, he could slip surprisingly far down the board due to the number of 3-4 teams in the top ten. Curry is viewed by many as a poor fit at the rush linebacker position in the 3-4 defense.

There is also the possibility that Ruskell looks to the future and drafts Sanchez. Matt Hasselbeck, soon to be 34 and having made all 16 regular season starts only three times in his seven years in Seattle, remains a great player and the face of the franchise, but Sanchez is viewed by many throughout the league as a franchise caliber quarterback. He is likely to be graded higher than any quarterback Seattle will be in position to select next year. Most feel the Seahawks were extraordinarily ravaged by injuries last season. Their return to health could result in a more competitive season, which could put the Seahawks squarely in the middle or later portions of the first round next year.

The player making a late run back up the board with the Seahawks appears to be Crabtree. Disregard that the Seahawks signed TJ Houshmandzadeh via free agency. At 32 years old, he is not being viewed as a longterm solution to Seattle's needs. The dynamic Crabtree, who many scouts believe will be the best player from this draft three years from now, is absolutely in play.

I'm among the few, apparently, who does not believe Tim Ruskell is strongly considering an offensive tackle with the fourth pick. Certainly the team needs to have a plan in place for life without future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. However, the team feels they already have that tackle in current starting right tackle Sean Locklear. By re-signing Ray Willis, who the Seahawks feel is a starting caliber right tackle, the Seahawks feel they're much stronger at tackle than most perceive.

Here is Clark's article. It is a terrific read, even if ultimately I disagree on a third of the players he mentions for Seattle's pick.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com