Speaking as a fan of ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Football, I thought Aaron Curry from Wake Forrest was a nightmare.
A complete nightmare.
Aaron Curry is labeled a bust by many, his stats in Seattle is anything but eye-catching from a man that many say "has so much potential but not enough instinct."
Is that truly the case?
Curry made a name for himself stopping the run, which can be attributed to playing in the ACC (which has not produced in the past few years outside of CJ Spiller) many stellar halfbacks. In the NFL, he played in the NFC West against bruising back Steven Jackson, another bruiser in Frank Gore and whoever Arizona would throw out behind the QB.
That's stiff competition.
One thing that helps Aaron Curry, however, is Oakland's defense in general. Now that Chuck Bresnahan is blitzing more often, Curry can play to his strengths (as a Demon Deacon) and either come in as a blitzing back or tap into that physical aspect of his game and wrap people up, take them down and force a new down.
Will "The Aaron Curry Project" work in Oakland?
In Oakland, Curry no longer has to worry about a questionable defensive line that cannot create pressure that would leave Curry on a defender (if in man coverage) too much time and get burnt. Oakland's defense looked much improved against a tough Houston Texans team, managing to hold the 2010 NFL Season's rushing champion, Arian Foster, to 68 yards.
Aaron Curry can help.
Because Aaron Curry is a NATURAL linebacker and Quentin Groves is a converted defensive end, Curry has instincts that Groves does not. Curry might have looked horrible in particular aspects while a Seahawk, but the Oakland Raiders' coaching staff will not exploit Curry in areas he is not good at. Instead, putting Aaron Curry into situations that he can excel at is what will be done, proving success.
If Hue Jackson is good at one thing, using players to their particular strengths is one of them.
Another first rounder who went through "Raider Rehab" was Kamerion Wimbley.
Wimbley, like Curry, was written off as a bust in Cleveland but was brought over and has had a turnaround in his career, proving to be a lethal pass-rusher that offensive tackles must be aware of due to his ability to beat them off the snap and bulldoze a quarterback.
At the end of the day, Aaron Curry is, at most, a project in Oakland. Despite what the media and other writers may want you to believe, the trade that involved Curry will not sacrifice the Raiders' future; instead, it will build on it.
If Aaron Curry can do even half of what Wimbley, Henderson, Satele, Hagan and even Jason Campbell is doing (which is being a productive part of the team), he'll have a rebirth in Oakland, and the Raiders and Raider Nation win.
If Aaron Curry continues to be the same player he was in Seattle?
The Raiders and Raider Nation STILL win because it was a prototypical "low-risk, high-reward" deal that Al Davis took a chance on. More often than not, he was right.
A change of scenery is always good for a struggling player, but there's something about Oakland, about the Raider organization that proves success often.
After Aaron Curry's "Raider Rehab," look for him to be a productive part of the up-and-rising Oakland Raiders defense that seems to be catching on and getting better each week.
Welcome to the Raider Nation, Mister Curry. Whether or not you wish to continue using No. 59 is strictly up to you. A change of scenery is often good, but a change of number in a new uniform can be just as good too. Just food for thought, enjoy your stay in The Black Hole.
Oh, and prove the critics wrong, all right? Make them see that even the fourth pick in the first round cannot change a defense that "just won't win, baby!"
Just win, baby.