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  1. #1
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    St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/21/2009

    In a 2009 draft class that's short on star quality, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry sticks out like a sore thumb.

    "First of all, you're getting top-shelf character," said a veteran NFC scout, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "You're getting versatility. You can play him inside, outside. He's an impact player wherever he's going to go.

    "Wherever he plays, he's going to line up early and be an impact player. He's big. He's fast. He's physical. He gets off blocks. It doesn't take long to see. Just turn on the tape, and you say, 'OK!' "
    There's no doubt the Rams think very highly of Curry as well. He's one of four players the Rams are considering with the No. 2 overall pick, along with Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez and offensive tackles Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Jason Smith of Baylor.

    At the NFL scouting combine two months ago, Rams general manager Billy Devaney spoke freely about how much he liked Curry. But with the draft just five days away, Devaney revealed nothing when asked about Curry during a predraft news conference Monday at Rams Park.

    "You know what, there are a lot of guys and especially the ones that we had in last week (for predraft visits) that we have great respect for as players and as individuals," Devaney said. "Curry's in that group, but I mean there's a lot of guys. We could sit here for a while and talk about everyone that came into the building last week."

    There's no doubt the Rams have a more pressing need at offensive tackle than linebacker. Alex Barron is the only full-time tackle on the current roster, and his contract expires after the 2009 season. At linebacker, meanwhile, all three starters are back from the '08 squad. But whether that qualifies as good news or bad news is debatable since the Rams finished 28th in total defense and 29th in rushing defense a year ago.

    If the Rams want an instant upgrade on a defense that so far has added just one new starter in free-agent safety James Butler, Curry is the logical choice. The veteran NFC scout felt that Curry is a better prospect coming out than San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis, a No. 11 overall pick in 2007 who was the NFL defensive rookie of the year and has made the Pro Bowl in both of his pro seasons.

    "Curry's more versatile," the scout said. "Willis is strictly an inside guy. He's a little stiff in the lower body in coverage and stuff. This guy (Curry) can cover; this guy can flip his hips. He can actually pedal and cover, play in space. You can't go wrong with a guy like that.

    "He'll be the leader of the (Rams) defense. I mean, the offensive tackles are nice, but the best player is Curry. I mean, he's the best player in the draft."

    At 6-2, 252 pounds, Curry ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at the combine, which was faster than many of the running backs there. Because of his speed and coverage skills, Curry can be an every-down player in the NFL, something that is debatable with Southern California linebacker Rey Maualuga.

    Curry has the size and body type to play middle linebacker, which would be his most logical position in St. Louis. But it's something he never played at Wake Forest, where he was used mainly as a strongside outside linebacker.

    Detroit, which is strongly considering taking Curry No. 1 overall, also views him as a middle linebacker in the NFL.

    "When you look at great defenses in the NFL, all of them have in common that great middle linebacker," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "That's where we see Aaron Curry, particularly in some of the schemes that we'll play. It's hard to run away from the middle linebacker, it's hard to take him out of a play."

    For his part, Curry sees no problem in making the switch to the middle aka the MIKE linebacker if asked to do so in the NFL.

    "I think the hardest transition to the MIKE from the (strong side) would just be the extra contact," Curry said. "I have the build to play the MIKE. I'm not the tallest I'm not your 6-4, 6-5 outside linebacker. I'm barely 6-2, I'm at 252, and just to be able to stand behind a nose tackle would be awesome."

    If the Rams pass on Curry at No. 2, or if he's already gone to the Lions at No. 1, St. Louis still has linebacker options in Round 2. There's a chance one of the Southern Cal linebackers, most likely Clay Matthews, slips into the second round. And it's possible Ohio State's James Laurinaitis will still be on the board as well when the Rams pick at No. 35 overall.

    "The middle for me is something where I like being in charge ... being the leader of the defense and making the calls," Laurinaitis said. "And being in the middle I like having a chance to make every play, being in on every tackle."
    Last edited by RamsSB99; -04-20-2009 at 11:57 PM.


  2. #2
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    So the article basically confirms Curry's in the mix, which we all pretty much knew. The real news would be if Curry wasn't in the mix for the Rams. Now that would be quite the read!

    But I don't think anyone would argue that Curry shouldn't get a long look from St. Louis. The only question is do they pull the trigger and pass up a bigger position of need where value may or may not be similar, depending on whom you talk to.

    We'll find out in a few days what the Rams think.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Man, the only bad thing I took out of this article was not that the Rams may pass on the phenom, but that Curry may not be there when the Rams head up to the podium

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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    The only question is do they pull the trigger and pass up a bigger position of need where value may or may not be similar, depending on whom you talk to.
    MLB is just as big of a need as OT. We are talking about an old Chirs Draft playing out of position at MLB. Right now the Rams are talking about Barron at LT and Bell, Greco, or Goldberg at RT. Both are big areas of need IMO. I dont know how confident I am in either Monroe or J.Smith playing at a high level in their first year. I do feel confident that Curry will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    We'll find out in a few days what the Rams think.
    Unless Detroit takes Curry in that case we will hear the Rams say that they got exactly who they wanted even if his name is John Doe.

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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Curry is much more of an immediate upgrade for the Rams who havent had the position in question manned admirably.A good defense makes a poor team competative. Miami went to 1 superbowl with Dan Marino and the offenses he quarterbacked, and never won the 1 time he was there. A team like that Miami Olphins- no D- never went anywhere.Bolster the defense and we bolster our team more so than with an OT that isnt a Stan Thomas or Long. The Baltimore Ravens are a prime example of how defenses get you to the next level. In fact-- what marquee LTs are on any of the marquee perennial play-off teams?Take an OT 2nd/3rd round, and get the ONE player in this draft that most people feel is the real deal for the NFL.
    Last edited by punahou; -04-21-2009 at 01:06 AM. Reason: sorry im using a proxy from work- and paragraphs apparently dont work with it =)

  6. #6
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    So the article basically confirms Curry's in the mix, which we all pretty much knew. The real news would be if Curry wasn't in the mix for the Rams. Now that would be quite the read!

    But I don't think anyone would argue that Curry shouldn't get a long look from St. Louis. The only question is do they pull the trigger and pass up a bigger position of need where value may or may not be similar, depending on whom you talk to.

    We'll find out in a few days what the Rams think.
    The only gripe I have about NOT drafting Curry is that, the drop off at LB is larger after him, rather than Tackle. As one NFL scout said in an interview, the Tackle talent class isn't that far apart, and you can pick one up in the 2nd (such as Beatty and Britton).

    I just feel Curry is that ONE player that we pick and completely changes one area of our team..our defense. He's the type of guy that's going to alone, just set the intensity of our team and become a leader. And having Chris Long and Aaron Curry as our young core is huge, considering both of them can be looked at as vocal leaders and both play at an ultra high intensity and passion.

  7. #7
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Devaney has already said money is not a factor in the decision because no matter who we take at #2 they will get paid a lot of dough. Hearing that, wouldn't the pick be Curry? Unless he isn't BPA on our board, which would go against the grain of what the general consensus is. Man, just when you think you're starting to figure things out...

  8. #8
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    Devaney has already said money is not a factor in the decision because no matter who we take at #2 they will get paid a lot of dough. Hearing that, wouldn't the pick be Curry? Unless he isn't BPA on our board, which would go against the grain of what the general consensus is. Man, just when you think you're starting to figure things out...
    You have a point, it's be much more reasonable money wise for a tackle over LB, but since it isn't a factor... It might mean something.

  9. #9
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Tell us something we don't know. Last year we had our eye on Gholston, but we passed. It will happen again this year...

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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    I would love to see Curry in the horns, but after that run of OT's in the first round last year, I am extremely weary of passing on an OT with the #2 pick. I think there is more liklihood of Laurinaitis, Sintim, Matthews, maybe even Maualuga slipping to us in round 2 than there is one of the OT's.

    It does drive me nuts that we have such gaping holes at both of these crucial positions. What the hell was the previous regime thinking?

  11. #11
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Mob 71 View Post
    Man, the only bad thing I took out of this article was not that the Rams may pass on the phenom, but that Curry may not be there when the Rams head up to the podium
    Maybe we need to send the Lions a copy of the "LBs don't get drafted that high" memo. That seems to be enough to have scared off some Rams fans.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  12. #12
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    Re: St. Louis Rams have eye on Aaron Curry with No. 2 pick

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsSB99 View Post
    MLB is just as big of a need as OT.
    I disagree completely, and I think Thomas makes my case for me in the article you started this thread with.

    We have one full-time tackle on this roster - Alex Barron. The other three candidates are all playing out of their natural position at guard, and the one most likely to win the job at RT if we don't add another tackle is a back-up at best.

    At linebacker, we still have the three starters from last year on this roster ready to go. Whether or not you think they're talented or not, the LBs are in a better position because they still have bodies there that have started and can play. The same can't be said for tackle.

    Besides, Curry's best position in the pros might be the one he's played at college - strong side linebacker. Many project that he can play MLB as well, but there are more than a few that have advocated keeping him outside over the tight end to maximize his talent.

    If that turns out to be true, if we draft a LB @ 2nd overall thinking he can be an impact player at MLB but realize his best impact will be outside, then the hole @ MLB hasn't been filled.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsSB99 View Post
    We are talking about an old Chirs Draft playing out of position at MLB.
    Chris Draft's best season since moving on from Atlanta came at MLB for the Carolina Panthers, whose LB coach at the time was our present defensive coordinator. Draft's best season for Atlanta came as an ILB in their 3-4 in 2003. When the Falcons defense switched to a 4-3 in 2004, Draft was installed as the starting MLB. I'm not sure how you can say he's playing out of position when he's spent quite a bit of time there and has been successful lining up inside.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsSB99 View Post
    I dont know how confident I am in either Monroe or J.Smith playing at a high level in their first year. I do feel confident that Curry will.
    Yet most agree that Monroe at least is one of the most pro-ready prospects in this draft and can come in and contribute immediately from Day One, and I'm one of them, so I can't agree with you there. As for Smith, he'll have some growing pains, but who knows... maybe Curry does as well transitioning to the middle. I think a lot of people continue to overlook or downplay this part of the evaluation.

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan16 View Post
    The only gripe I have about NOT drafting Curry is that, the drop off at LB is larger after him, rather than Tackle. As one NFL scout said in an interview, the Tackle talent class isn't that far apart, and you can pick one up in the 2nd (such as Beatty and Britton).
    This tackle class isn't that far apart... at the top. There are four tackles that could easily go in the Top Ten. After those four though, there's a big drop off to Britton, who will almost surely go in the first round but is a bit of a reach at that point. Then you have Beatty, whom IMO also goes before the Rams pick again because he has LT potential and those players are valued at a premium in this league (see Duane Brown). Neither of them in my opinion are close to the top four tackles, and neither are guaranteed to be there in the second.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    Devaney has already said money is not a factor in the decision because no matter who we take at #2 they will get paid a lot of dough. Hearing that, wouldn't the pick be Curry? Unless he isn't BPA on our board, which would go against the grain of what the general consensus is. Man, just when you think you're starting to figure things out...
    That's a nice thing to say in public, but I would be blown away if, when the doors close at Rams Park, money and financial considerations are not part of the discussion at the top of the draft. And it's not just the Rams who have to think about it. It's the reason why Detroit is negotiating with at least three possible picks right now - to try and leverage the best possible deal.

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