The 2009 NFL Draft looked like it was going to really be something special. Upon running down the list of names, I see Aaron Curry. Also known as one of the safest picks at linebacker in recent memory. Back then, I wasn't even a huge fan of the draft. I would watch some stuff leading up to it to familiarize myself, but basically I'd only watch the first couple of rounds, if that. However, even I was aware of the fact that Aaron Curry was an absolute beast. Huge hitter, four year starter at Wake, leadership skills, awesome closing speed, and reliable on tackles. Basically a Patrick Willis clone. He was going to anchor the Seahawks defense for years and go down as an all-time great.
Unfortunately for Curry and the Seahawks, something went wrong. I don't really know what the issue is here with him because he seemed like a perfect linebacker prospect. Reports that he struggles with fatigue have been floating around. It suffices to say that the 'Hawks are less than impressed. They've been so underwhelmed in fact that they've decided to restructure Curry's rookie deal and cut two years off of the contract. Talk about a slap in the face. Actually, when I look at what the class of 09 has collectively accomplished, Kenny Britt's injury problems and run ins with the law seem like no big deal.
While it's still too early to pass judgement on a few of these players who, for whatever reason, haven't had much of an opportunity to shine yet, (Ziggy Hood, Matt Stafford, etc.) this first round was an absolute disaster. Anybody remember Aaron Maybin? I guess a few of you do, but probably not for the right reason's. Maybin, a pass rushing specialist from Penn State, arrived in Buffalo as the number eleven overall pick with much pomp and circumstance. What Buffalo failed to realize was that Maybin was kind of slow and kind of small. Usually, you can be one of those two and have some decent success, but if you're both than you can forget it. This poor fellow was waived by Buffalo. Wait for that to sink in. Waived. By. Buffalo. If you're not good enough to improve the Bills' pass rush, get out of the league right this instant.
Fun fact: after the Jets parted ways with another tweener mega-bust in Vernon Gholston, they picked up Maybin to fill the hole that he left in the "waste of space" department. So hooray for him I guess. In all seriousness, I'm glad he's getting another shot.
Back to Curry for a second: I absolutely love the fact that the guy many thought he should have been drafted instead of in Kansas City has been extremely underwhelming so far as well. Tyson Jackson, we hardly knew ye.
Not even the number two overall pick was safe. Jason Smith, considered the next Orlando Pace by some, was bumped over to right tackle last year. Now, that's not that big of a deal. Smith is young and apparently kind of raw, but the fact that he's not a big name at left tackle, especially given the recent successes of the highly drafted Joe Thomas and Jake Long, has got to sting a little bit for team that needs to put a premium on protecting Sam Bradford's shoulder.
But enough of comparing Kenny Britt to other positions. While I could go on and on about how many terrible players were selected ahead of him at other positions, let's just focus on the receivers.
Anybody remember Darius Heyward-Bey? I can tell you right now that the only reason I do is that I play against his high school every year. I mean, wow. Talk about a complete and utter failure of a player. I know Al Davis like speed, but Heyward-Bey even appears incapable of using his track-star skills to his advantage. They picked him over players like Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, and of course, Kenny Britt. They basically bet the farm and came up empty. Really, really, empty. Heyward-Bey could find his legs eventually, but honestly, who cares? The horse has left the barn. It's chilling in the barns of the Eagles, Titans, Giants, and Vikings who came away with great players when they picked receivers, eating oats and hay. The Raiders' barn is just full of propane tanks and manure.
Fun fact: here's a list of players that have out-produced Heyward-Bey: Greg Camarillo, Mohamed Massaquoi, Mark Clayton in five games last year, and Kevin Curtis circa 2008. Congratulations Darius, you might break out big time next year, but I'll always remember you as the terrible, terrible player you were for your first three seasons.
You thought I'd forgotten about Michael Crabtree, didn't you? Well I didn't. Mostly because he totally burned me in fantasy last year. The injury really took a lot of wind out of his sails because honestly, he was having a pretty decent season. However, he was picked in the top ten. He should be better than this. We all know the potential for something beyond greatness is there, he just needs to find it.
Here's the way I look at things right now: Kenny Britt will go to the commissioner's office tomorrow to discuss a suspension. He'll either lose some time or he won't. Either way, Kenny Britt will have a great chance of coming out to in 2011 and playing at a really high level. Suspension or not, he's got the chance to easily be the best player at his position in his class. That's so much more than you can say for many of the other players taken in the first round that year. So next time someone reminds you that Kenny Britt has done some really stupid things, just remember; if the Raiders had taken Britt, we likely would have ended up with Heyward-Bey. He's kind of a moron, but he's our moron, and he's about to set the league on fire.