The Oakland Raiders have acquired the fourth overall pick from the 2009 draft, linebacker Aaron Curry, from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a seventh round pick in 2012 as well as a conditional mid-round pick in 2013. Curry was considered a can't miss pick in the draft when Seattle swung their bat at him, but evidently they struck out.
Curry is in the process of reworking his contract with the Raiders and it was expected to be into the league office by Wednesday at 1 PM Eastern time. This is a huge trade for the Raiders who have faced questions regarding outside linebacker Quentin Groves, a season ending injury to both back-up middle linebackers, Ricky Brown and Travis Goethel, and more recently an ankle injury to 2010 eighth overall pick, MLB Rolando McClain.
McClain hopped off the field on one leg during the second quarter of the Houston Texans' game on Sunday. Initially the injury looked serious, but the second year linebacker would later return to the field. At the present time, the extent of the damage is unclear, but there is speculation that it could be serious. McClain did not look 100 percent after he returned to action.
Curry lost his starting job in Seattle to rookie K.J. Wright. There are rumors that Curry's talents would be better utilized in a 3-4 defense rather than the Seahawks 4-3 defense that is similar to the Oakland Raiders' scheme.
However, the Raiders have made it a habit through the history of the franchise to take reclamation projects from other teams, especially first round draft choices. Right off the top of my head quarterback Jason Campbell, linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, and Quentin Groves come to mind.
Curry has talent, there's no doubt about it. He played the SAM linebacker in college at Wake Forest. Ideally, the Raiders would like to have him play WILL linebacker in their scheme paired with fellow first rounders McClain and Wimbley. But in the short term, depending on the extent of McClain's injury, he may have to be shoved into the MIKE spot.
Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz once said, "You have to be really strong [to play SAM on the ball as Curry did in college]. But they also put him out in space... almost like a nickel back. Those are two almost mutually exclusive skill sets."
That statement from a current NFL head coach implies that Curry has all of the athletic ability that the Raiders need to make him their primary WILL linebacker of the future. At 6'2" and 255 lbs, Curry fits right into that bigger linebacker mold the Raiders want in their front seven at the present time. His 25 bench reps of 225 lbs prove his is a strong linebacker while his 26 on the wondrlic prove he has the wits to play at an elite level as well. His 4.56 forty time also makes him a true Raider.
The Seahawks wanted Curry to be more of a pass rusher his first two seasons because of his speed off the edge. Ultimately, they moved Curry to his more traditional role of an outside linebacker that played back in pass coverage which Curry seemed to feel more comfortable with. He has two tipped passes this year. This is further proof that he would be an excellent addition at the WILL linebacker.
In five games, three as a back-up, this season Curry has 22 tackles. For his career, he has amassed 156 total tackles including 5.5 sacks as well as nine pass deflections. Why in the world the Seahawks wanted to trade him is beyond me, but wisdom tells me it must have been an attitude, character, or work ethic problem. Time will tell exactly what the Raiders got from this trade, but for the potential Curry is well worth a mid-round draft choice and a seventh round pick.
Curry had this to say on Twitter when he learned of the trade: "How do you respond when God gives present an opportunity to walk in Faith?"
Follow me on Twitter @Raidersblogger