Aaron Curry trade smart move by Raiders

Thursday October 13th, 2011

Aaron Curry has just 5.5 sacks in 35 career games. (UPI/Landov)

Two words to sum up the Raiders' trade for linebacker Aaron Curry: Why not?

Oakland gave up two low draft picks to Seattle for Curry, who's been a bust since the Seahawks took him No. 4 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. In two-plus years with Seattle, Curry recorded 156 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks, production that fell far short of the expectations the franchise had for him.

Curry never really developed in either aspect of his game -- pass or rush defense -- and even restructured his contract this past offseason so he could depart Seattle after 2012.

Making matters worse for Curry is that the '09 draft produced some studs, especially at linebacker. Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews and James Laurinaitis were selected after Curry, part of a draft that also included Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, B.J. Raji, Josh Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin and many, many other contributors.

But for the Raiders, Curry represents a worthwhile risk.

Oakland is in trouble at the middle linebacker spot, with Rolando McClain both struggling and dealing with an ankle injury. His backup, Ricky Brown, was placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion.

That left Daryl Blackstock, who's started six games over a five-year NFL career and has spent most of his time on special teams, as the likely fill-in if McClain has to sit out.

Curry at least brings some experience to the Raiders' depth chart -- he's started 30 games for Seattle since 2009. Getting a fresh start also could be just what Curry needs.

The former Wake Forest star was considered a virtual sure-thing to succeed in the NFL. One scouting site had this reaction to Seattle's selection of him: "He was perhaps the best player in the draft, and Seattle got good value for him with the No. 4 overall pick."

Instead, Curry turned into an expensive disappointment.

The pressure is off in Oakland, especially if McClain's ankle holds up, allowing Curry to settle into a backup role. Will he ever perform up to his draft standing? So far, it doesn't look like it.

Anything even remotely close, though, would be a boon for the Raiders.

Oakland, off a win at Houston last week, finds itself at 3-2 and in the AFC playoff picture -- including just a game back of San Diego in the West. That early-season success puts them in position to take some chances in an effort to upgrade the roster, which is really all the Raiders are doing here. Curry hasn't lost the physical attributes that made him a college star -- he's still 260-plus pounds with decent speed. If he can somehow find his footing as a run-stopper or in pass coverage, the Raiders might look back on this trade as a huge steal.

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