Grading Aaron Curry

We left off on a bit of a cliffhanger and with good reason(s).

No one player can turn around a team (though the rebounds by Atlanta, Miami, Tennessee and to a lesser extent Baltimore argue that adding a competent quarterback sure helps). Sometimes a marquee talent at a marquee position falls to you at four, but not too often. So you either reach for position and draft B.J. Raji or Eugene Monroe and know the talent isn't that special and you might be drafting the next Johnathan Sullivan, or you take the best guy out there and figure out position later. Seattle did the latter. Seattle did not need Aaron Curry, especially did not need Curry if it had kept Julian Peterson, and shouldn't expect Curry to be the player that makes this defense. No one player can turn around a team.

It's tough to swallow that, because when good teams go bad and they get that first top five pick in whoknowshowlong, everyone wants that pick to be so damn special it makes 12 losses seem worth it. Like that first night with strange isn't going to make the divorce worth it but you better get over it anyhow or else you're going to be forever lonely and bitter. Like Aaron Curry isn't going to be Lawrence Taylor -- who, incidentally, played for some pretty rotten teams but was Lawrence Taylor anyway -- but is seriously badass and more than a little fun to watch.

The next three plays went

  1. (Right) Hit, swim, does not factor.
  2. (Right) Short zone, does not factor.
  3. (Left) Throw away, does not factor.

And those three plays pretty much defined BC's second half offense. So, you can see why I'd cut this game short, start tomorrow with Deon Butler and rejoin Curry against a team with an offense. But there's a grade to be given.

Curry is fast. Curry is rare fast for a linebacker, but the thing that pops for Curry, the thing that makes him special among the special is power. Pure, athletic power. They say you can't teach speed, but truth is you can't teach power either. Yeah, I could bulk up and pound the iron like a pneumatic piston, but on my hulkingest, veiniest, roidingest, most shriveled testicle day, I could not stand with an NFL player. That's because muscle fibers don't increase and you can only max them out so much. That's because the power to slowly lift heavy objects is mostly useful for slowly lifting heavy objects. That's because 6'2"/250 guys that can rattle 6'5"/260 guys that could rattle the fillings from my teeth are unique. Curry is hugely powerful. He will abuse opposing tight ends and force opponents to audible them off the line. He will drive lead blockers into backs and in through the out hole. Curry will add power to a linebacker corps without great power, and size and muscle to a defense built on technique and speed.

Of course, Curry is fast. Curry is rare powerful for a linebacker, but the guys he pops, the players he overpowers looks stuck in quicksand beside him. He gets going fast, has a real nice speed curve, and is effective through the hole, in long pursuit, or running back an interception or fumble. Curry has a way of appearing in places he really shouldn't be like Hasidic Bat Mitzvahs or 25 yards down and across the field four inches into Chris Crane's shoulder socket.

Size, strength, it sounds like athleticism, but it's not. Control is athleticism and Curry is no dancer, but he's nimble. He can move both through and around offensive linemen. He can redirect well and has terrific feet. He moves a little stiff at times, but there's basic inertia at play here, and I don't think it's so much a lack of agility as that it's hard to move a big body at high speeds. So that, if Curry can learn when to burn and learn when to inch in, I think he's physically capable of the kind of sudden redirect and lateral pursuit of the best linebackers. He's a special athlete, but doesn't look consistently so, and unlike almost any great Ruskell prospect before him, there's currently more talent than skill, but a Saint John's Cathedral ceiling.

A lot of skill though and little skill buds that make ya think "this guy's skilled, but there's room for him to be a true technician." He has the pre-rec preternatural awareness. The kind of head-on-a-swivel, everywhere-the-ball's-gonna-be kind of vigilance that looked so promising in Lawrence Jackson before his hand-fighting skills never materialized and he started quitting on plays. Curry has the hand fighting. The push, the rip, the swim that tosses aside lead blockers. He has the buffet of skills of a great pass rusher. He looks a little stiff to terrorize right now, but let's not count him out. There's a little Teddy K in this guy. A little lunatic pass rusher waiting for the right crusade.

You're gonna see this guy and you're gonna love him. He won't fix this defense, but after a game of detailed scouting, there's not many guys I'd rather watch and watch and watch. He could make the Pro Bowl his first year, but the Seahawks themselves might stop that. Should it mean anything, he'll make Sportscenter most Sunday nights. He'll make Seattle's defense better. Better than it was with Julian Peterson, even if it means finding pass rush from other players and better schemes. He will bust through blockers Colin Cole lets through and pretty much stop another Brandon Jacobs debacle from happening. He's going to make his name known around the league awful fast, and in between the flash he's going to be a great teammate and contribute to others' big plays. No, he's not going to make this defense, but everything I've seen says Seattle picked right on Curry. Let's start him with an "A" and see if he can top that.

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