The Raiders have always had the reputation of being full of malcontents, misfits and cast-offs so it makes perfect sense that they traded for fledgling linebacker and first-round bust Aaron Curry today.
The trade is about as close to a no-brainer as you can get in the NFL. All the Raiders gave up in return was a seventh-round pick next year, and a conditional middle-round pick in 2013. Do you remember who the Raiders drafted in the seventh round this year? Me neither, and that’s exactly the point.
The last guy selected in the seventh round every year is christened “Mr. Irrelevant” for a reason—seventh-round picks pan out about as often as Chuck Bresnahan calls blitzes. So basically never.
Oh, and I looked it up: The Raiders chose USC wideout David Ausberry in the seventh round to play tight end, and he’s played in two games this season. His statline? No catches, zero yards. But he did make two tackles!
Curry was the No. 4 overall pick for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 out of renowned football powerhouse Wake Forest (yes, that was sarcasm). He quickly fell out of favor with everybody’s favorite cheerleader/head coach Pete Carroll, and had been relegated to second string. Giving him up for a seventh-rounder makes me believe the Seahawks might have taken a ham sandwich in exchange for Curry–clearly, they don’t think very much of him.
Can Curry be an impact player on the Raiders? Who knows. But here is what I do know: At 6'2" and 255 lbs, Curry can still run a 4.56 40-yard dash; the boy is a freak of nature. He’s also only 25 years old, which means he still has plenty of room to grow. In limited snaps this season, Curry has 22 tackles. That’s more than Raider starting linebackers Quentin Groves (19) and Kamerion Wimbley (17).
Here’s another thing I know: The Raiders suck at tackling. They whiff more than Alex Rodriguez in the playoffs. Oakland gives up 5.2 rushing yards per attempt (28th in the NFL), 122.8 rushing yards per game (22nd), and has surrendered 32 runs for first downs (23rd). The run defense is leaving a lot to be desired, so if you can add a physical specimen like Curry to the team for basically nothing? It’s a move you have to make.
Hue Jackson told reporters he’d be taking care of the personnel decisions with input from Raider heir Mark Davis for the rest of the season, and it’s surprising to see Jackson making a trade so soon after Al Davis’ death. But if you saw Jackson break down at the end of the Texan game, or watched his emotional and gripping speech to his players in the locker room, you know this man loved Al Davis like no other. If Jackson’s making this move, he sees something the Seahawks don’t, and he must believe it's a trade Al Davis would approve of.
Plus, what better way is there to remember Mr. Davis than by making a trademark Al Davis move? As I detailed in my story Sunday, the Raiders beat the Texans thanks to the players Al Davis believed in that others didn’t—guys like Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sebastian Janikowski and Michael Huff.
Last year, the Raiders took a flyer on another failed defensive project named Jarvis Moss. Does that name sound familiar to you, Raider fans? It should, because he’s been harassing opposing quarterbacks all season. In 16 games with the Broncos in 2009-10, Moss had zero sacks and was dumped by Denver; in his 10 games with Oakland since, Moss has 2.5 sacks while only starting once. Jackson was right about him–he might be right about Curry, too.