Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Revisiting Curry’s draft evaluation

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 29, 2011 at 7:22 am with 32 Comments »
September 29, 2011 8:16 am
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry attempts to make a tackle on Pittsburgh running back Isaac Redman. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

So where did he go wrong?

Rob Rang of asks himself that question in going back and looking at how he evaluated linebacker Aaron Curry three years ago heading into the 2009 draft.

Like most everyone else, Rang had Curry pegged as a future Pro Bowl linebacker at the next level. But Rang said he simply missed on Curry. What he perceived as an instinctive linebacker (Curry finished with six interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns), he mistook for a player who’s athleticism masked the mistakes he made on the field.

Rang: “there were warning signs. Curry displayed a troubling tendency to over-run plays even in college. This has been a problem in Seattle, as well. Too often, he’s been in position to make the play, but has over-pursued and allowed a cutback lane or bitten hard on play-action and been beaten. This fact led to some (including long-time draft biographer Dave Te Thomas) to question how well Curry would handle NFL speed playing outside linebacker in a 4-3.”

As Rang points out, his colleague Te Thomas believed that Curry would be better as an inside linebacker in a 3-4, and compared him to Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson, who struggled as an outside linebacker in a 4-3, but became a productive player when the Chiefs moved him to inside linebacker in their 3-4 alignment.

Here is his evaluation of Curry heading into the draft three years ago:

“Like the Chiefs finally realized with Johnson, hopefully the NFL team that drafts Curry will do likewise and play him in the middle. He has very good athleticism making plays in front of him, but bites often on play-action, lacks good depth playing in the zone and is a bit too stiff to generate the sideline-to-sideline range to make impact plays on the outside, where he struggles to stop the runner’s forward momentum. He can clog the rush lanes when he stays low in his pads. Put him inside in a 3-4 alignment and he can be equally productive getting to the quarterback as he did in college. Play him on the outside and he will be exposed in a quick and deep passing game.”

Dave Boling of The News Tribune notes that Curry made some plays during practice on Wednesday – on the scout team. Boling says Curry’s demotion was deserved, and that he was just beat out by a guy playing better than him right now in rookie K.J. Wright.

Clare Farnsworth of offers this report from Wednesday’s practice.

More Farnsworth: Lost in the Curry story has been K.J. Wright’s ascension to the starting lineup.

Rod Mar of offers some cool photos from last week’s game.

Christian Caple of talks to receiver Mike Williams, who says he’s focused on getting back to work and is not concerned about his lack of targets last week because his team won. He doesn’t want to be a distraction.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has the Seahawks losing at home to Atlanta 33-13.

Greg Hanson of the Arizona Daily Star reports that Joe Tofflemire, a first-team All-Pac-10 center for Arizona draft in the second round by Seattle in 1989, has passed away at the age of 46.

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports counts Seattle as one of the losers in free agency because of the play of Tarvaris Jackson, and injuries to Sidney Rice and Robert Gallery.

Jack Bechta of the National Football Post wonders would an NFL general manager actually plot to make his team bad enough so that he can select Stanford’s Andrew Luck. Bechta says that could backfire with Luck having another year of college eligibility. If he doesn’t like the situation of the team with the No. 1 pick, he could always choose to stay in college for another year.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. Can you imagine getting the first pick and having Luck go back to school? LMAO. Ouch.

  2. Now you all watch: All of these draft “experts” who said Curry was a can’t miss probowl LB are going to now backtrack and say “well, now, I did say there was some risk involved and I did notice he had some issues….” etc., etc. etc……the American Way these days. Never accept fault, never admit you were wrong and always blame the other guy. Unbelieveable. O-Well, doesn’t change my love of the team: GO HAWKS!

  3. I think Rob Rang owes the seahawks organization quite a few dollars.

    He’s paid (and i’m sure very well) to evaluate talent. Why isn’t he penalized when he’s wrong.

  4. ejkimber says:

    Rang doesnt work for the Seahawks

  5. Dukeshire says:

    He’s not a consultant to the organization. They don’t pay him (and I’m certain they don’t consider his opinion) why then would he be financially penalized? Hell, if that were the case, Tod McShay would have filed for bankruptcy years ago.

  6. i know he doesn’t work for the seahawks, and i was being somewhat sarcastic, but when you go to the “Experts” you should expect them to be correct, not dead wrong. Duke, I’m not sure why you always jump to his defense. He did a piss poor job evaluating the player, but when fans and I’m sure organizations lean on his opinion at times, it’s scary to think about how bad his “can’t-miss” prospect, well, missed.

  7. Rang is a high school history teacher…the dude can barely afford a parking ticket. lol

  8. I’m sure CBS Sports compensates him for his efforts.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    I don’t always defend Rang. I can’t think of a single time where I have before, although there may be one. I’m as critical of the so-called “experts” as anyone on this blog. In truth, they are almost never right and taken as a whole, a pack of self-important blow hards. There is a very small handful of the national media whose job it is to provide draft analysis, that I respect or place any stock into.

    But yes, virtually everyone was wrong regarding Curry.

  10. and I am sure you are perfect in everything you do!!

    I respect him much more knowing he says – “hey missed that one” than some moron who back tracks and says ‘oh I had concerns” hem – Mel Kiper cough cough

    The NFL draft is not an exact science which we have noted many times. There are avoidable mistakes that teams make since they value the combine so much – which is garbage

  11. ChrisHolmes says:

    I think the miss on Curry is indicative of the problem that many scouts and “experts” have in evaluating college talent, and that is that it’s really difficult to project a guy to the next level when the talent pool in college is so diverse. When a player is constantly “lighting up” the opposition he looks like a sure-fire Pro Bowler, but the problem is that he’s doing it against guys whose career after college will be as an insurance salesman, doctor, lawyer, or scientist…

    Rang notes that Curry, “had lit up ACC foes and confirmed his remarkable athleticism”.

    And there’s the rub – his athleticism. But we’ve seen time and time again that athleticism in the NFL is NOT the be-all / end-all of what makes a player great. If it was, Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell would have been stars. It takes a LOT more at the NFL level to be successful. It takes the whole package.

    Some LB’s have great instincts – but they lack the athleticism to ever be truly great at their position. Other guys, like Curry, have all the athleticism in the world, but they don’t have the instincts, or the material between the ears to be great.

    Scouts get caught up with athleticism and stats, tangible numbers like 40 times and bench presses, because they are numbers they can hold on to and analyze and most importantly – COMPARE against other prospects.

    It’s difficult to evaluate a player on the things that really count outside of those numbers, because you have to trust your eyes instead of a portfolio of numbers. I mean, really, did anyone think Wes Welker was going to be Wes Welker when he reached the NFL? If they did, they’re lying. No one saw that coming. But here’s a guy with solid tangible attributes and then the one thing you cannot put a number on: he just gets open.

    I hate seeing us miss on Curry. But the fact is that everyone – EVERYONE – said Curry was the most NFL ready, can’t miss prospect in that draft. And I was giddy when we got him because I like those words just as much as any other fan.

    People whiffed on Curry. It happens. Let’s hope we don’t whiff on our QB next spring. Because that one pick will make more difference than three Curry’s will. By a long shot.

  12. I actually had a passing though about Curry playing strong safety, but that’s probably one of the most instinctive positions on that side of the ball.

  13. That was one of the worst drafts to be stuck with the number 4 pick. We all knew it at the time on this board. Everyone knew it in the NFL. No one wanted that pick. Their are busts galore in that draft (Picks 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12). The second half of the draft was substantially better than the first half.

    At least Ruskell made up for it by getting a 2nd First Rounder in the following draft which at the time was projected to be one of the best drafts because of the juniors coming out to avoid the rookie wage scale.

    And the “experts” were right on all counts.

  14. Just to finish that thought, a lot of folks on this board make it seem like Ruskell picked Tony Mandarich in a 1989 draft full of Hall of Fame type players. It was quite the opposite – only 3 picks of the first 12 turned into quality NFL players worthy of a high 1st round pick.

  15. Ante Josip “Tony” Mandarich (born September 23, 1966) is a former football offensive lineman of the NFL. He was the first round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1989, second overall behind quarterback Troy Aikman, and ahead of the third selection, running back Barry Sanders, the fourth selection, linebacker Derrick Thomas, and the fifth selection, cornerback Deion Sanders. Mandarich is the only player of those five not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is tied with Charles Rogers as the second highest drafted Michigan State player ever (behind Bubba Smith). He is also the highest-drafted Canadian-born player in NFL history. In 1989, Sports Illustrated called him “the best offensive line prospect ever”,[1] but he is now considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

    Just for clarification, also lmfao.

  16. chrisj122 says:

    Lets face it when a prospect is drafted this high it pretty much a 50/50 chance of superstar or bust. Best example Payton Manning and Ryan Leaf.

    I truely believe some players can’t handle the pressure of being drafted so high. Some of these bust would probably work out much better if they were drafted in later rounds without the pressure of living up to a huge contract and being expected to have an immidiate impact.

  17. “Some of these bust would probably work out much better if they were drafted in later rounds without the pressure of living up to a huge contract and being expected to have an immidiate impact.”

    I wonder if the rookie salary cap will help relieve some of the pressure on the top draft picks?

  18. Audible, I ‘m not sure how much money you make per year (i will guess somewhere between 1 dollar and 100,000,000 dollars) if you were to be paid 50 percent of what your colleague was making in the exact scenario, how much do you think you’d want to perform?

    I see what you’re saying, though. They have the eerie feeling they have to live up to the 100 million dollar expectations, I’d actually guess it’s discouraging… although Cam newton maxed out the rookie wage scale and he’s impressed thus far…

    so all in all, I’m not sure where I stand on that comment, and will ponder it.

  19. Per PFF, AC’s over-running plays run isn’t as big a problem as his problems in coverage. Duke mentioned before how AC couldn’t handle the duties of an ILB. If AC goes to a team who tries to use him as a 3-4 ILB, doesn’t he still have to cover nearly a quarter of the width of the field from just behind the DL to like 20 yds deep, or deeper? I don’t understand the 3-4, and especially how it works with the secondary, but SEA’s D started the game in nickle, with neither AC nor Wright starting. With the amount of passing going on nowadays, wouldn’t AC be sitting the bench most plays anyway?

  20. Ewalters7354 says:


  21. RADEoN, another brilliant set of posts bud. Yeah, let’s put a LB that is HORRIBLE IN COVERAGE at SS. Great idea.

  22. Sure hope Prisco’s wrong about the score, but after their loss to TB, ATL might just come out and “get it right”, like PIT did when we visted them a coupla weeks ago.

  23. I am a GENIUS. I said MONTHS before the draft that we should trade out of our pick and draft Clay Matthews. Why was I the only one to see it? I must be incredibly smart to see what 99 percent of draft analysts didn’t. AHAHHAHAH LOL!

  24. I was just pissed we drafted a line backer, I wanted an OL or pass rushing end that wasn’t a hybrid or whatever, I could of swore our LB’s were considered some of the tops before we drafted Curry. Nobody wanted the fourth pick or I’m sure we would of traded out of it.

  25. Dukeshire says:

    klm – In fairness, it was someone else (yesterday I believe) that said Curry would not make an adequate ILB. I had said earlier that he would not make a serviceable MLB. Granted it’s an interior position, but in a 4-3 rather than 3-4. At this point, I’m not sure what role he would have much success in.

  26. surelyyoujest says:

    Oh to have Lofa’s head on Curry’s shoulders. Now THAT would be a linebacker.

  27. raymaines says:

    Let’s hope that some GM that runs a 3-4 defense buys into the AC hype. I’d take a fourth, would love to have a third. If dreams come true, they trade him to Chicago for a second round pick. Tim Ruskell owes that to the ‘Hawks, doesn’t he?

  28. oscar_contender says:

    Natedog, you were right, I can’t say for sure if you are a genius or not :) but trading down was the best move.

    LB’s still on the board:
    Orakpo, Cushing, and Matthews in the first
    and Laurinaitis in the second

  29. They should get Clemons to wear his number for a few plays. Might get a second-rounder for him then.

  30. Sarcasticus says:

    No team bases their picks off what Rang or anyone else says. They pay lots of money to their own scouting department. Getting mad at Rang or McShay or the “hair guy” is a complete waste of time. Getting mad at anyone that tries to point that out is asinine.

  31. I remember thinking we should take Sanchez. I also remember that Raghi looked like a freak, but I wasn’t sure if that was in a good way. Couldn’t get past the blubber. But I must admit when they said Curry was the safest and maybe best pick in the draft I was happy and satisfied. I mean, they know more than me, right? Perhaps I was gun shy from all the previous busts throughout the years. Didn’t want to get “Bozzed” again. Still like my Hawks since 76.

  32. I was totally against Sanchez based on actual starting experience in College (one of those predictor stats)

    Was feeling good about the Curry pick at the time. wow, would someone backhand me!!!???

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