Over the last decade the Seahawks have made their bones by having one of the most dominant defenses in recent memory. They’ve been able to accomplish that by having unreal success in the draft, mostly in the later rounds (Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman for example.) Had this player lived up to expectations they would have been that much scarier.
Heading into the 2009 draft Aaron Curry was viewed as a generational prospect at the linebacker position. He had a rare blend of strength against the run and elite coverage skills. In college he had set the NCAA record for a interceptions returned for a TD by a linebacker in a season with 3. Curry had a great showing at the combine and it was all but guaranteed that he’d be a top 5 selection.
The Seahawks made that happen when they took him with the 4th overall pick, making him the highest drafted linebacker since 2000. They then proceeded to give him the most guaranteed money ever for a non-QB to the tune of $34 million. He was immediately inserted into a starting linebacker role.
During the 2009 and 2010 season he turned in 61 tackles and 73 tackles. Not terrible, but not what you expect from a player that was supposed to change the game. Heading into the 2011 he was so disappointing that after two games he lost his starting job to rookie K.J. Wright. That would signal the end for him in Seattle as they dealt him to Oakland before the trade deadline for next to nothing. Nothing came of his next two seasons and he’s now out of football completely.
When you draft a player as highly touted as Curry was, you’re expecting the modern day Lawrence Taylor. For him to be traded for a 7th round pick after 3 years is almost impossible comprehend. To make matters worse, there were plenty of other players who’ve turned in successful seasons that were available when Curry was taken. The following players were selected after Curry; Brian Orakpo, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Cushing, Jeremy Maclin, Alex Mack, Clay Matthews, Eric Wood, and LeSean McCoy.
The fact that Seattle could miss on such a high pick and not miss a beat is truly a testament to how well they drafted outside of Curry. They’ve won a Super Bowl, have one of the league’s best QBs, and also own one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Bobby Wagner, who’s been a much better player than Curry ever was. But the idea of Brian Orakpo playing for Seattle is a scary picture. Not to mention LeSean McCoy teaming up with Russell Wilson who hasn’t had a passable running game in years.