Aaron Curry #51
College: Wake Forest
Weight: 254 lbs
Arm Length: N/A”
Hand Size: N/A”
40 Yard Dash: 4.56
3 Cone Drill: 7.15
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.51
Bench Press: 25 reps
Vertical Jump: 37″
Broad Jump: 124″
Curry was a very highly touted linebacker coming out of Wake Forest who seemed to be the total package. After being selected fourth overall in 2009, many assumed that Seattle would have a young star on defense to build around for years to come. To the surprise of many, Aaron Curry was traded to the Raiders in 2011 just five games into his third season. Of course the first thought that goes through everyone’s mind when a top five draft pick is traded that early in his career is that they turned out to be a bust. However, I don’t believe that to be true with Curry.
In his rookie season he started 12 games and had 61 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He didn’t light the world on fire but had a pretty solid year all things considered. Many expected Curry to build on that first year and begin to really establish himself in year two, and he probably would have except things were shaken up for his second season with the Seahawks. Seattle hired Pete Carroll after the 2009 season and he came in with his own agenda ready to put his stamp on things. Part of his brilliant plan was to take his best defensive player and get him more involved. That sounds like a good plan right? Except that plan involved moving Curry into the “Elephant” linebacker role. For those unfamiliar with what an Elephant backer is, it is essentially a linebacker capable of playing both 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker. The main role of the elephant backer is to rush the quarterback.
While Curry does possess some ability to rush the passer, it is not his biggest strength. Coming from a more traditional linebacker role at Wake Forest and playing that way his first year in the NFL, Curry’s transition was going to be a tough one. In his first day of practice at his new position Curry suffered a concussion that caused him to miss nearly two weeks of training camp. It’s always tough to make a good impression with a new coaching staff when your trying to learn a new position and battling injuries at the same time. He fought through it though and went on to improve on his rookie numbers by starting all 16 games and racking up 73 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. That wasn’t exactly the result Pete Carroll and Seahawks were hoping though as he only finished with 3.5 sacks while rushing the quarterback more often from the elephant backer position.
After the failed experiment, neither Aaron Curry nor the coaching staff were feeling very confident with how things were going. Curry began transitioning back into a more traditional linebacker role, but after losing a lot of confidence and falling out of favor with the coaches, he never really got back on track in Seattle.
Just five games into the next season Curry was dealt to the Raiders for a 7th round pick in 2012 and a conditional 5th round pick in 2013. He instantly became the starting weak-side linebacker for the Raiders and had a decent year given the fact that he was plugged into a new defense in the middle of the season. Carson Palmer will be the first to tell you that being sent out on the field without knowing all the plays and adjustments is a tough situation.
Curry will now have a full off-season to get comfortable with his coaches and the new defensive scheme and should be ready for a fresh start. Look for him to try to get back to what made him so successful at Wake Forest, which was just playing read and react defense and using his natural talent to make plays. Curry’s only real weakness is pass defense. He is a good scrape linebacker who pursuits the ball well and is a very solid tackler. If he gets a chance to size up a runner, he will also deliver a big hit. With his quickness he can be a very effective blitzer as well. Depending on the situation and personnel you could see Curry slide inside some this season. He is good at the point of attack and can get off blocks to make plays. He could be used as the second inside backer in some 3-4 looks, but should primarily play outside.