ST. LOUIS -- The athletically gifted
Now, we won't know about the game of chicken at the top of the draft until at least late Thursday. Eventually we'll know if Stafford takes a deal from Detroit -- and if the Lions are serious about taking Curry with the first overall pick if there's a huge gap in negotiations with Stafford.
This is what I know about the Curry/Stafford maneuvering: Curry would sign for significantly less than Stafford at No. 1. I believe Curry would take
Doing the deal for Stafford makes too much sense for both the Lions and the Georgia quarterback. I get the strong feeling Detroit coach
So with Curry there after the first pick, the big variable with him is whether he can rush the passer. He lacks the classic rush-linebacker height at 6-1¾, but he has pass-rush speed and power. He ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the combine, which is mediocre receiver speed, while weighing in at 253. He he had 9.5 sacks in 50 games at Wake Forest. There's no way he's getting picked third, fourth or fifth if his employer thinks he'll have one sack a month in the NFL.
I know the Rams, Chiefs, Seahawks and Browns have investigated Curry as a rusher. They'd be silly not to. The Rams say they're serious about considering Curry, but with a disastrous situation at offensive tackle -- franchise left tackle
It would be downright ridiculous for Kansas City GM
One of the reasons teams are looking so hard at Curry is because of the caliber of person he is. I spent 45 minutes with him on the phone the other day, and either he's the biggest actor I've ever chatted up, or he's a terrific kid I'd want one of my daughters to marry. And every NFL guy I've mentioned Curry to raves about him. Even though it probably hurt his draft status, Curry told me he has no regrets about the Wake Forest defensive game plan rarely calling for him to pass-rush.
"I don't regret anything about my college career,'' Curry told me. "The coaches used me in a way that was best for the team, and on our team, it wasn't for me to rush the passer. They wanted me to play all over the field and drop. But there's no question in my mind I can rush the passer. If that's what the team I end up with wants me to do, I know I'll be able to fill that role.''
One personnel man for a team not drafting high told me Curry's value will be in his versatility. "For us,'' said the scout, who works for a team playing a 4-3, "he'd be the mike [middle] linebacker, but I know teams who'd play him strongside in either the 3-4 or 4-3. If you're playing him strongside in the 4-3, that means you think he's a
Curry's less of a gamble than Stafford because quarterbacks fail at a higher percentage high in the draft than do linebackers. It's hard to imagine him being a bust. But for Curry to earn the money he'd make being a top five pick, he'd have to be some pass-rush threat. And that's why I can promise you the teams at the top aren't finished studying him and talking abut him internally now, two days before the draft.
On this long draft weekend (or is it Christmas in April?), you can follow me four ways:
• Online: I'll be writing a short column, plus Five (Draft) Things I Think I Think, today, Friday and Saturday. On Friday afternoon, I'll post the mock draft I did for this week's
• On Twitter: Follow me at
• On the radio: You can catch me on Sirius/XM NFL Radio Monday on
• On TV: I'm doing
Now for my five things for Thursday:
1. I think there are four players teams want to trade up for:
2. I think the Rams won't take Sanchez, but they'll be very, very tempted. I do not make this claim lightly: The Rams' offensive tackle situation is the worst situation for any team at any one position in football. And they're staring two very good left tackles --
3. I think there's only one thing of substance I find myself on the other side of the fence from godfather-of-the-draft
4. I think it's hard not to love the Patriots being positioned the way they are -- at overall slots 23, 34, 47 and 58 -- on Day 1. Increasingly over the years, the value of low first-round picks, and all the picks in the second round, has grown. Someday I've got to study the true impact of the second round versus the first, because as Chicago GM
But New England will surely hit it rich on one of their first-day picks. Check out some of the names taken in the last two decades with that 34th pick, for instance:
5. I think the NFL is creating a nice little storyline with the first round, inviting nine players to the city. The league will never admit it, but you can be sure it's thinking, "We hope one or two of these guys fall. That'll be a great plot twist.''