Aaron Curry at Four

Aaron Curry

Birthdate: April 6, 1986

Height/Weight: 6'1 3/4"/254

Position: LB

College: Wake Forest, 51 games played

College Stats: 275 tackles, 44.5 tackles for a loss, 15 passes defensed, 6 interceptions, 9.5 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries, 5 forced fumbles, 3 touchdowns, 1 punt return for 13 yards.

My Take: So what if Seattle does select Aaron Curry? The history of first in class linebackers is not sterling. Excepting rush linebackers, a position so apart it might as well be defensive end, the best first in class linebacker in recent history is Patrick Willis. The 49ers defense barely budged his rookie season, and though after five consecutive seasons of dismal play it moved towards mediocre in 2008, that could be Willis, Nate Clements, Justin Smith, Takeo Spikes, the ouster of Mike Nolan, the ouster of Alex Smith and JT O'Sullivan, the appointment of Mike Singletary, all of the above, regression towards the mean, or all the above. However you slice it, Willis has not been transformative in the way Albert Haynesworth, DeMarcus Ware or Jared Allen have been.

That's the only reason Curry is even available at four. He's the best prospect in the draft. Curry is the consensus best linebacker in a strong linebacker class. If he were a running back, his Speed Score would compare to Ronnie Brown. He was productive at Wake Forest, performed well in individual drills at the combine, gives a good interview, is terrifically athletic and punches every criterion one could want in a prospect. If Seattle selects him they will have effectively escaped the loser's curse, drafting a safe prospect with exceptional talent that should contribute for the life of his contract. Curry might be modestly overpaid, but short of calamity, that's about as bad as I can see things working out for the team that drafts Curry.

The rest of the information about Curry is freely available. Excluding an injury there's no evidence he will suffer, Curry's an asset for now and the future. The consummate linebacker without a weakness and as many strengths as scouts can categorize. And yet, I don't find him exciting at all. Of the 18 Hall of Fame enshrined linebackers of the modern era, only three were selected in the first round. Only two of those three were selected first in their class, and both were rush linebackers. The one Hall of Fame linebacker selected in the first round that wasn't a rush linebacker is Dick Butkus. And even Butkus was hardly transformative. He was selected by the Bears in 1965. That Bears team was the best defense in football just two seasons earlier. It was not again the best defense in football any season Butkus played. The Bears alternated between mediocre and awful. Butkus only played nine seasons, and the Bears never made the playoffs in any of them. Low risk and likely to be productive, Curry is, but a franchise player to build the next contender around, Curry is not.

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