It seems like everyone on Oakland’s roster is at the career crossroads in some fashion. Darren McFadden is looking to remain healthy for an entire season. Richard Seymour is out to earn one last NFL contract. Carson Palmer seeks to segue back into the elite QB conversation. And not to be forgotten, Aaron Curryis still trying to establish himself as a quality NFL linebacker.
Entering his fourth year in the league Curry looks unlikely to ever live up to his label of being the can’t-miss prospect of the ’09 draft. It took the Seahawks just two and a half years to hit the eject button on a man they picked 4th overall. If things don’t improve for Curry in 2012 you can expect the Raiders to make the same move by sending Curry on his way to the next stop of his pro career.
Even if Curry never sheds the bust label it doesn’t mean he can’t become a solid pro. The Raiders might not unearth a dominant defender in Curry but there is every reason to believe they could have a reliable starter for years to come.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Curry is at the crossroads with only three years of pro ball under his belt is because he has yet to define his game. There isn’t any one thing Curry does that distinguishes him from the countless other middle-of-the-road linebackers that populate the NFL.
The hope is that Dennis Allen’s scheme will find a suitable and defined role for Curry. During Curry’s 11 games as a Raider in 2011 he displayed the athletic ability that made him such a hot prospect coming out of Wake Forest. While his game is undefined Curry’s intensity and high motor are the foundation for a great linebacker to build upon. Maybe all he’s needed is better coaching.
Of course coaching and scheme will only get you so far in this league. It takes proven production combined with consistent play to firmly establish oneself as a life-long vet of the NFL. Currently Curry is one more lackluster year away from officially becoming a journeyman. Three teams in four+ years isn’t the way many Canton bound careers begin. The good news is the Raiders don’t need him to play like a Hall of Famer. Getting a sure tackler that can defend the run, pressure the QB and cause general havoc on Sundays will do just fine.
Anything short of a breakout season will likely leave Curry without a job come January of 2013. He already had to restructure his deal in order to remain employed in Oakland so odds are Reggie McKenzieisn’t going to give Curry another second chance if things don’t improve this year.