Note of Qualification
I'd like to qualify my post by saying that I do not pret end to know what will be, and I do not claim that the opinion I am about to express is fact. I will offer it up as a point of debate, in an attempt to discuss what skill set Aaron Curry truly brings to the table. I believe there is always more than meets the eye (or in this case... the stat sheet).
The Knock on Curry
It has been widely scouted that Aaron curry isn't an elite level pass rusher due to his low sack count. Others have suggested that while "solid" in all areas, his game isn't that dynamic in that he isn't a difference maker. His draft tags of "safe pick" and "solid" lead some to associate him with being "serviceable", "un-sexy", or lacking "playmaking ability". Phrases like durable, intelligent, and productive are used and may unfairly convey that Aaron Curry is not explosive. I believe a closer look may reveal the exact opposite.
For a prospect who has been scouted as "less-than-spectacular" at creating pressure, there may be evidence that suggests the opposite. While at Wake Forrest, Aaron curry rang up some very impressive and productive stats. 332 tackles is huge for a collegiate LB by anyones standards, but here are some forgotten tidbits:
- 45.5 tackles for a loss! That ranks #1 all-time at GT and most certainly requires the ability to penetrate and finish. A QB going down behind the line (sacked) achieves basically the same goal as a RB going down behind the line. It forces the offense into uncomfortable (less manageable) down and distance situations.
- 3 career INT's returned for a TD: ranks #1 all time at GT. What's more, he returned 3 out of his 6 career INT's for TD's. When he gets his hands on a pass, he changes games. Alphonso Smith, the GT CB drafted this year with a first round grade didn't take that many to the house.
So why then does a guy with superior ability to penetrate into the backfield and drop RB's for a loss, not put up better sack totals where penetrating and dropping QB's is required?
A Word on Defensive Scheme and Sack Count
Unlike a Defensive lineman, a linebacker is somewhat limited to the context of the scheme he is playing in to register sacks. While a DE can pin his ears back on most passing downs, a LB is obligated to blitz when asked to. What were Curry's defined roles on passing downs? I hestiate to suggest the following because I lack evidence, but how do we know that Aaron Curry didn't rush the passer more so than Aaron Curry can't rush the passer? I would love to see a play by play assignment chart on AC.
A final Word
I want to stop short of making a conclusion here. My post is phrased as a question to encourage a group discussion about this. I am hoping that putting several heads together can help explain why a player so dynamic in some areas (RB stuffs and defensive TD's) can post such pedestrian sack totals.