Posted on: April 20, 2009 4:00 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2009 12:33 pm

Rob Rang: Playing it safe

Looking for safe draft picks? Check out these future stars


While the on-field activity between the pro day season and the NFL Draft crawls to a near standstill, the media and public interest in the prospects only intensifies.

With little workout news to report, rampant speculation regarding failed drug tests, poor practice habits and the inability to play different positions (or in different schemes) occupies too many headlines. It's enough to leave one with the impression that next week's draft lacks any talented, hard-working prospects at all.

Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe the reality to be considerably less gloomy than some of my peers. Some of the boom-or-bust prospects in this draft will be, after all, booms.

There are no "sure things" in the inexact science of the NFL Draft. But those less willing to gamble on draft day will keep a close eye on the following eight players who were characterized to me as the "safest" by a menagerie of scouts and front office personnel.

Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest: Though I've listed the safest players alphabetically, it is fitting that Curry tops the list. The Butkus Award winner is characterized by many, including NFLDraftScout.com, as this year's safest pick and the top-rated player overall. His statistics (332 tackles, 45.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions returned for scores) are eye-popping, and his performance at the combine, where he led all linebackers in four of the six categories he tested in, is a testament to his athleticism. In the words of one NFL general manager, Curry is also "off the charts" in terms of his intangibles. A team captain and four-year starter who signed with Wake Forest as a relatively unheralded prep talent, Curry has the work ethic and desire to be great.


(Rob Rang is a senior analyst at NFLDraftScout.com.)



Posted on: April 15, 2009 5:53 pm

Rob Rang: Stock watch

Safest prospect Curry could fall on Draft Day

(NFLDraftScout.com is following Aaron Curry's road to the NFL from the combine to his pro day workout to the draft April 25-26. This is the third in a four-part series.)

Part 1: Afterthought | Part 2: Opportunity

Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry has already held private workouts on campus for the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns, owners of the third, fourth and fifth overall picks, respectively. He has also traveled to Detroit and Cincinnati for visits and is flying from Cleveland to St. Louis to Kansas City this week.

Private workouts, Curry explained, are similar to the workouts he has done at the combine or at his pro day.

"Except teams will ask you to do things in different order or change the focus. Some teams want to see you drop back more often. Others more with the bags."

Similarly, the private visits have a tendency to run together.

"What has happened so far [on trips to Detroit and Cincinnati] is that you fly in to the city one evening and are picked up by the team at the airport and go to dinner with some of the front office people and coaches, including the position coach," Curry said.

"The next morning they take you to the team facility, where they give you a tour and introduce you to all of the coaches, the GM, the team owner, the public relations people. Then it is mainly spending time in the film room where the coaches watch film of your play throughout your career. The coaches give comments on your play -- both positive and negative. Next, they put on the film from their own season and after watching it for awhile together, they'll ask you questions about their defense. They expect that you'll be able to pick up on the system pretty quickly."


Rob Rang is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com