Will Raiders pass if Curry falls to No. 7?


Regarded at the time of the NFL combine as perhaps the safest pick in the draft, the financial realities of taking a linebacker with a premium pick could cause Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry to take a tumble.

Curry’s agents, which include Octagon’s Mike Sullivan, have already met with the Detroit Lions, who own the top pick.

Having already invested heavily in linebacker Ernie Sims, the smart money still has Detroit making the big splash and taking quarterback Matthew Stafford.

At No. 2, St. Louis is expected to look for the successor to Orlando Pace by taking either Baylor’s Jason Smith or Virginia’s Eugene Monroe.

That brings us to Kansas City, which has probably been linked with Curry more than any other team. Peter King of Sports Illustrated makes a compelling argument of why that probably won’t happen, taking into account executive Scott Pioli’s mode of operation in New England and applying it to his new team.

Because of the money Matt Ryan got from Atlanta last year as the No. 3 pick in the draft, that puts the Chiefs on the hook for a deal which could pay Curry $11 million per season. That’s not “safe” money. That’s the kind of dough which goes to an instant force, a defensive difference maker.

Curry’s combine measurables, college production (the Dick Butkus Award winner) and character are said to be off the charts.

But when it comes to big bucks, sacks pay off even more, and Curry had just 9.5 sacks in his college career. There are no guarantees Seattle, Cleveland or Cincinnati would snag him, either, bringing up the Raiders at No. 7.

Curry could fit in nicely as a strong side linebacker along with Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison. Perhaps he’d be that hard edge to turn things back inside, and be better at shedding blocks and making plays against the run.

But the Raiders typically don’t lavish money on linebackers. Getting Howard in the second round in 2006 and Morrison in the third in 2005 meant they came with reasonable contracts. Howard is scheduled to make $550,000 this year, Morrison $545,000 (he hit an escalator which increased his salary to $1.7 million in 2008.

If the Raiders drafted Curry, who had 226 yards in interception returns and three touchdowns in 2007, he wouldn’t be coming off the field with No. 7 money _ leaving Morrison the potential odd man out when a linebacker comes off the field in the nickel.

Even if available, history says it’s unlikely the Raiders would go linebacker at No. 7. The highest pick used on a linebacker since 1994 is Rob Fredrickson, taken in the first round out of Michigan State. In 2002, Napoleon Harris came at No. 23.

Fredrickson had a solid, unsensational career, and Harris, protected by a veteran defense as a rookie, never became a playmaker with the Raiders or in his subsequent stops in Minnesota and Kansas City.

A look at Raiders linebackers taken in the draft since they returned to Oakland in 1995

2006–Thomas Howard, second round, No. 38 overall. Interceptions dropped off last season, but may be the fastest weak side linebacker in the league. Showed flashes as blitzer although not used much in that capacity.

2005–Kirk Morrison, third round, No. 78 overall. Like Howard, production as a pass defender slipped. The team’s most productive tackler, although critics would note those tackles come too far downfield. The middle linebacker of the No. 31 rushing defense in the league _ he has at least some culpability in that stat.

2004–Cody Spencer, sixth round, No. 182 overall. Didn’t make the Raiders, but has played 49 games with the Titans and Jets, primarily as a special teams player. Now property of the Detroit Lions.

2003–Sam Williams, third round, No. 83 overall. Considered a favorite of Davis, Williams is primarily a special teams player who was brought back on another one-year contract. Never seized the job of strong side linebacker as hoped, with injuries playing a role.

2002–Napoleon Harris, first-round, No. 23 overall. An outside player at Northwestern, his speed, size and intelligence never translated into being a playmaker with the Raiders. Shipped to Minnesota in the Randy Moss trade.

1999–Eric Barton, fifth round, No. 146 overall. Had some productive games as a weak side linebacker. Of the Raiders better bargain picks. Left as a free agent to the New York Jets.

1998–Travian Smith, fifth round, No. 152 overall. Similar to Isaiah Ekejiuba in terms of being a physical presence and a wedge buster on special teams, although without the same sort of smarts and leaderships skills.

1995–Mike Morton, fourth-round, No. 118 overall. Had a brief run as a starter when Mike Jones left as a free agent.

Poll: Who should the Raiders draft with their No. 1 pick? Vote here.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Kell,

    I am in no way under the impression that Al can out-fox people on a regular basis, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, and Al was right about Nnamdi.

  • BART Bridge Blues Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I am in no way under the impression that Al can out-fox people on a regular basis, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, and Al was right about Nnamdi.
    Exactly, he was lucky.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    BART Bridge Blues Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Well I am glad at least one person agrees with me about the need for another TE, considering the two-tight end sets. So far this off-season, the Raiders have taken a closer look at as many TE’s as they have WR’s. Our biggest problems on offense are lack of protection for Russell and lack of targets for Russell to throw to. Only one position solves both of those problems.


    Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma St

  • blackdeath29

    al been right on draft day the last 2 years.

  • 860Todd Christensen

    BBB, very good! lmao

  • We’ve had a bad D-line for years.

    We’ve been weak at Safety for years.

    Haven’t had a great Left Tackle for years.

  • nader64

    new post

  • 860Todd Christensen

    Agree KK, and a NT would be like x-mass

  • los raiders de don rober

    Don’t draft a LB with the 7th! With the style of defense Al likes to play, very few LB’s could make an impact. Our LB’s rarely blitz, our D line is not set up to protect them, they get lots of 1 on 1 matchups with RBs coming out of the backfield, etc. The last time our LB’s had an impact season they were intercepting passes on 3rd down. Maybe it was Rob frigin Ryans fault. I doubt it.

  • blackdeath29

    al`s only missed on 4 guys in two years
    1. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
    4a. Tyvon Branch, DB, Connecticut
    4b. Arman Shields, WR, Richmond
    6. Trevor Scott, DE, Buffalo
    7. Chaz Schilens, WR, San Diego State

    The Raiders chose LSU QB JaMarcus Russell with the 1st overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft.

    1. JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
    2. Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State
    3a. Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia
    3b. Mario Henderson, OL, Florida State
    3c. Johnnie Lee Higgins, WR, UTEP
    4a. Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
    4b. John Bowie, CB, Cincinnati
    5a. Jay Richardson, DE, Ohio State
    5b. Eric Frampton, S, Washington State
    6. Oren O’Neal, FB, Arkansas State
    7. Jonathan Holland, WR, Louisiana Tech

  • 860Todd Christensen

    BD29, We have some very good talent to carry us for a few good years, IMO!

  • New post.

  • 860Todd Christensen

    Thanks, KK !

  • blackdeath29

    860Todd Christensen ,
    just trying point out the fact that al`s had two good draft`s in a row.also zack miller drafted in the 2nd round and darren mcfadden in the first are the leading wr on the team.get russell a #1 wr than and a center than take care of the defense.

  • DKnight007

    I see….

    Det – Stafford

    Rams – J. Smith

    KC – Eugene Monroe or Curry

    Sea – Sanchez, Curry or Monroe

    Clev – Curry, Orakpo or Raji

    Cinncy- A.Smith,Raji or Crabtree

    Oak – Crabtree, A Smith or Raji, or Oher

  • 860Todd Christensen

    Still here BD29? I think we solved the center problem, we need a staunt, mean,OL. I agree 100%. But Miller has been a lineman too long, he needs to be a reciever, much like TCristensen, Always got it done on 3’rds by a quick block, cut in before the LB’s, made the 1rts. We get a really good OLT, frees up Miller, allows for a good ORTE, we march!!!!!!

  • DirtyRaccoon


  • DirtyRaccoon

    Happy days 4eve,O, gang

  • SquawBrat

    Anybody out there surprised that every time the topic of “what top 10 picking team is going to auction off the Sanchez spot” comes up Oaktown at #7 never gets mentioned? If I’m Snyder in DC or in the SF Whiner’s front office I would have Big Al’s phone number on speed dial.

    And please Mr. Davis (and I know you haven’t done it much in the past), if the call does come in please think long and hard about trading down 3 spots with SF or 6 (?) with the foreskins. You are still going to get an impact player at 10 or 13 plus a mid 3rd. And its not like we are just one player away.

  • fggcisco

    Raiders dont have enough picks to make an impact. Better off using draft to build dl and safeties and ol.
    Denver has 9 possibly 10 picks, bolts and chiefs have 8.
    Its going to be another 4-12/5-11 season. This season build the defense or OL. Heyward-bey has lousy hands and Maclin has durability issues. Those guys you take in latter rounds.

  • fggcisco

    Pretty much no team wants to draft in the top 10. Its not a real strong draft for the value. Why spend a top 10 on Sanchez when you can get Rhett Bomar (who I think is going to be the stael of the draft)in the 3rd or 4th round. For the raiders and a lot of teams this is building year Al should trade down for more picks.
    Build the defense that way.

  • Nnamdi21

    Enough tape on Smith to make him the pick at 7.

  • Nnamdi21

    Need to buy Smith a manzeire though. Nipple chaffing could land him on IR.

  • Nnamdi21

    Oh no he dih-in’t!~

  • Nnamdi21

    What? Am I alone on here?

  • Nnamdi21

    Hello? I’d do Kathy Griffin…

  • Nnamdi21


  • Kirk

    Al, please draft linemen in the first two rounds.


    The game is won on the line!

  • D in UC


    Name one lineman from the Steelers?

  • Okie Raider

    Why not take Rey Maualuga? I really think he is a draft sleeper, but wont be around for the Raiders to pick.