Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry (Draft Countdown)
As the 2009 NFL Draft approaches, the editorial staff at Buffalo Rumblings will begin profiling draft prospects that may end up being potential targets of the Buffalo Bills. jri111 drew the assignment of profiling the top linebackers in this year's class. He starts with everyone's consensus top linebacker: Aaron Curry.
Aside from defensive end, one of the biggest needs identified by the Rumblings community for the Buffalo Bills is the linebacker position. We start our examination of the position at the very top. Wake Forest's Aaron Curry is the cream of the crop in this year's draft class and is a consensus Top 5 pick. So why waste our time profiling the man? Simple: no one would have thought a month ago that T.O. would ever be a Buffalo Bill. If the Bills would go after T.O., anything's possible.
To help analyze Curry's game, Ryan Philpott of Blogger So Dear was gracious enough to take time to answer some of our questions. I have to say, going into this analysis, no linebacker in this year's draft really blew me away. However, after doing my homework and listening to what Ryan had to say, I've changed my mind in a big way. In my humble opinion, Aaron Curry is the best player in this year's draft, hands down. Yes, it would cost Buffalo a small fortune to move up to make him a Bill, but a player of this caliber would be well worth the price.
Aaron Curry - Linebacker, Wake Forest
6'2", 254 lbs, 4.56 40-yard dash - best at the Combine
37" vertical leap - 10'4" broad jump
Excellent combination of speed and size. Has long arms to keep him off blockers. Has the experience to go along with the athletic ability (4-year starter in the ACC). Good in pass coverage; able to stay low in his backpedal and take proper angles. Good hands (returned all four interceptions for touchdowns in 2007). Good instincts; locates ball carrier quickly. Has the size and ability to shed blocks. Durability is excellent; he has never missed a game due to injury. Excellent intangibles: team leader, hard worker.
Wasn't used as a pass-rusher much in college. Can be overaggressive at times, which causes him to over-pursue. He's a bit stiff in the upper body, which causes him to have marginal change of direction skills. Doesn't always explode into tackles.
What did Ryan have to say about Aaron Curry?
Rumblings: What are his strengths?
Philpott: There really isn't much Curry doesn't do well, he can cover or rush the passer, he hits ferociously and is an extremely intelligent player. It's hard for me to find any real holes in his game. Charley Casserly of NFL Network put it this way, "He's the best linebacker, I think, that's come out of the draft in the last ten years." Explosive and strong, as well as a great guy off the field, AC can do just about anything that a linebacker should be able to.
Rumblings: What are his weaknesses?
Philpott: The only real knock on Curry that I've heard is that he doesn't have very fluid hips, which could hurt him in coverage against fast tight ends, but he has the acceleration and speed to make up for most of his mistakes.
Rumblings: Who would he compare best to in the NFL?
Philpott: After searching around for a bit, I like the comparison to Derrick Brooks, a superb player throughout his career. Curry has said he likes to compare himself to a Julius Peppers of linebackers, for his athleticism, speed, and playmaking ability.
Rumblings: Buffalo plays a base 4-3, Tampa 2 style defense where the middle linebacker is responsible for covering the deep middle of the field and the outside linebackers also have zone responsibilities. Does Curry have the skill set to excel in such a defense? At which position?
Philpott: Curry would definitely be better served playing outside linebacker in any defense. He can cover from sideline to sideline as well as rush the quarterback when needed. Curry says, "I'm an inside or an outside in a 4-3 or 3-4. I have film of putting my hand in the dirt and rushing from the D-end spot. I don't really have just one position where I feel like that's where I need to be. I just need to be anywhere on the defense and just be an impact player." It's a very good attitude, though I still see him more of an OLB. I noticed he played in a zone many times this year so he would be very comfortable in the Bills defense.
Rumblings: What is Curry's ideal position (e.g. 4-3 OLB, 3-4 OLB, 4-3 MLB, 3-4 ILB, etc)?
Philpott: Probably a 4-3 OLB, as that is what he played his entire career at Wake Forest. However, I've watched Belichick (sorry grew up in Massachusetts) put his linebackers all over the field and I could see Curry using his tremendous physical traits to do just about anything. Whatever team picks him up won't be worried about how he will fit into their defense.
Rumblings: Anything different/special about him that we should know?
Philpott: Curry got cut from his seventh grade football team for being too small; look how far he has come. His brother played for UNC and his half-brother played QB for East Carolina.
Much more after the break...
Reviewing The Tape
Does He Fit The Bill?
You betcha! Curry has all the makings of an All Pro linebacker. Not only that, his most natural position seems to be strong-side in a 4-3, which just happens to be Buffalo's biggest need in the linebacker group. He's a special player, and special players don't last very long once the draft begins. If Buffalo really wanted Curry, they would have to move up into the top three; perhaps higher. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? Never.
And again, a big thanks Ryan Philpott for his insight on Aaron Curry!