The trade that will reportedly send linebacker Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders from the Seattle Seahawks has yet to be finalized, but many consider it a done deal. In exchange, the Raiders are to send a conditional mid-round pick in 2013 and a 6th-round pick in 2012. The picks themselves aren't high stakes, and exactly the kind you expect in a trade like this, so what can the Raiders expect from Curry?
That really depends on how you see him. Curry represents two lines of thought: the bust who failed to live up to his 4th-overall pick billing, who fell short of expectations when he was labeled one of the safest draft picks in years, and the player who had to deal with different head coaches and different philosophies in his two seasons in the league. Which one is he for you?
For the Raiders, he's probably somewhere in between. For the Seahawks, he's probably not exclusively the former, either, but it was simply time to move on. It's probably unrealistic to think that Curry will get things going and live up to his draft status, but he doesn't come with that hanging over his head. It's a fresh start, and for Curry, that's just fine. He's looked at 2011 as a fresh start regardless, and has looked a bit better this season in his playing time.
Curry is athletic, driven and unquestionably intelligent. For some reason, that intelligence has never translated into full comprehension of an NFL playbook, and that's something he'll need to overcome. How does he fit into the Raiders' scheme? Probably as a multi-facted backup, applying himself at most positions, wherever he's needed, with his eyes on Quentin Groves and the weakside lineabcker position.
He'll want to take over that spot, but it's a long way up. At the very least, he enters Oakland costing no more than sixth- and fourth-round picks, so the pressure isn't there. He can focus on learning the system and how he best fits into it, and that's how he should have been applied from the start, when Seattle drafted him. It's not necessary that they mis-used him, it's that they tried to change him multiple times, and perhaps themselves didn't know how best they wanted to.
That's not likely to happen in Oakland.