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NFL Draft History: Linebackers


As Emmitt Smith would say, "Aaron Curry just blowed... blewed up the NFL Draft Combines." Curry is now being mocked atop several 2009 NFL Drafts in the NFL Mock Draft Database. Draft fans across the Internet are assuming that Curry is a natural fit for the Lions with the No. 1 overall selection. And if not the Lions, then the Rams or the Chiefs.

But how realistic is this? In a similar post, I discussed the history of the Top Three Picks of the NFL Draft. In that article, I showed that the only linebacker chosen in the top three since 1998 was LaVarr Arrington in 2000. And it has to be noted that the man who took Arrington was none other than Daniel Snyder - an owner with a horrendous track record when making NFL personnel decisions.

Going even further into this, look at when the top linebacker in each draft class was taken, as well as his weight and 40, which can be used as variables to compare each of the players.



NFL Draft Year
Name
Draft #
Weight
40
2009
Aaron Curry
4
254
4.56
2008
Vernon Gholston
6
266
4.65
2007
Patrick Willis
11
242
4.51
2006
A.J. Hawk
5
248
4.59
2005
DeMarcus Ware
11
251
4.56
2004
Jonathan Vilma
12
233
4.54
2003
Terrell Suggs
10
257
4.65
2002
Napoleon Harris
23
253
4.55
2001
Dan Morgan
11
240
4.54
2000
LaVarr Arrington
2
250
4.53
2000
Brian Urlacher
9
258
4.59
1999
Chris Claiborne
9
248
4.63


Excluding LaVarr Arrington, there was only one linebacker chosen in the top five in the past 10 years! And Curry is suddenly being projected as a candidate to go first overall?

Look, I'm not saying Detroit absolutely won't take Curry. The Lions have made countless horrific moves in the NFL Draft and free agency year after year. Paying a linebacker first-overall money would rank up there with hiring Marty Mornhinweg, not firing Matt Millen, trading Shaun Rogers away for nothing, and drafting Mike Williams, Charles Rogers and other busts.

Now, is Curry a better prospect than DeMarcus Ware, LaVarr Arrington, A.J. Hawk and Brian Urlacher? According to the Detroit-Curry speculation, some think so. Curry's weight-40 combo rank up there with that of Arrington, Urlacher, Hawk and Ware, yet only one of those guys cracked the top three.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that there were two linebackers in NFL Draft history who were chosen first overall. They would be Aundray Bruce (1988) and Tom Cousineau (1979). Cousineau, drafted by the Bills, opted to play in the CFL instead, where he thrived. He returned to the NFL for six seasons and never made the Pro Bowl. Bruce, chosen by the Falcons, was one of the greatest busts in NFL history. He started just 42 games in 11 years.

I'm not saying Curry is going to be a bust. I'm just pointing out that NFL front offices have since realized that linebacker isn't one of the most valuable positions.

The reason a linebacker hasn't been chosen first overall since 1988 is because NFL general managers and scouts have become wiser as the draft process has evolved. Well, most general managers. The Lions have clearly been an exception to that rule. So maybe Curry has a legit shot to go No. 1 after all.



NFL Draft History Archive:

NFL Draft History
Ten Reasons Why the Detroit Lions Must Draft Russell Okung - 4/5/10
How Often Do Offensive Tackles Bust? - 4/5/10
Are Safeties Worth a Top Five Draft Pick? - 3/27/10
Do Quarterbacks Bust More Than Other Positions? - 2/28/10
Do Defensive Coaches Draft Offensive Players? - 2/15/10
Top Three NFL Draft Pick History - 2/15/10
New Regimes Mean New Quarterbacks - 2/15/10
Andy Reid's NFL Draft History - 2/15/10
NFL Draft Quarterback Busts: How to Spot Them
Linebacker Draft History








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