How does an NFL Combine performance vault a sure top ten pick to becoming the consensus best prospect of the draft? By making scouts drool. I run a yearly feature discussing the picks that benefit Seattle by bombing the Combine and lowering their stock and the picks that ace the combine and solidify their greatness. Before this last draft, I always rooted for exceptional talents with middling tools to bomb the Combine and players with great tools but middling production to stand out. I was especially excited when John Carlson flopped.
This was the first season I could hope a player with great production and great tools would stand among his peers and stand out. The inverse of the good player undervalued for the wrong reasons, Seattle had a shot at the great player that would become even better in the pros. Then Aaron Curry took the field on February 23, 2009.
Don't read any further. Watch that. It's linebacker porn. It's scouting porn. It's better. It's football art.
I was so slow to the Curry bandwagon. I initially discounted Seattle selecting him because it had its linebackers. It had three great to elite linebackers and hadn't done a thing with them. There were quarterbacks to be had. And defensive ends! And offensive tackles! And diva wide receivers! If somehow Seattle cleared room for Curry, would it really reinvent this defense?
The answer then and the answer now is no. Curry will not reinvent Seattle's defense and Seattle did not approach the offseason like he would. He is the best pure talent at linebacker I've ever seen. It's all there in his Combine footage: the projectable build, the quick feet, the smoothness, the snap out of his breaks, the 25 bench reps he willed from his long arms, the so regular it looks like dancing slide step, the backpedal, the scream of anguish when he drops the interception. Size. Strength. Speed. Technique. Desire.
Until now I've stoked the hype but never fed it.
Today, the Hype lives.