Pros- Very quick, has a great burst to close and plays very fast. He has great sideline to sideline range, flows to the ball very well, is good at playing in space, flows through the trash nicely and is good at avoiding blockers at the line of scrimmage. He sheds blocks well for a player his size, and is a good tackler who regularly wraps up and also packs a punch as a hitter. His quickness helps him in coverage, and looks pretty comfortable in zone coverage. Reads the QB’s eyes well, which helps him when in zone.
Cons- He lacks size, will get engulfed by larger blockers and struggles in close quarters because he is forced to engage larger blockers instead of avoiding them. He can shed these blocks, but it is harder than when he is in space. At times he will over pursue and attempt an arm tackle when he is out of control and thus miss the tackle. He looks uncomfortable in coverage at times, and I am not sold on his ability in coverage yet. He bites on PA pretty regularly and he takes some false steps when in coverage. He almost has happy feet when dropping back into coverage, but I can’t tell if he is taking false steps or just chopping his feet every play. He has the quickness and closing speed to be effective in man coverage but I just haven’t seen him put it to use that well yet. Does not blitz well unless he has an open lane to the QB as he has no pass rush moves.
Overall: Curran excels when defending the run despite his size because he reads run very quickly, flows to the ball well and has great closing speed and burst. He is extremely quick for a linebacker, and that helps when defending the run. He does not look as good in coverage to me though, and I think he could use some development there. I’m not sure how good he will be in the NFL in this area, but he has the quickness and agility to excel in coverage, he just hasn’t put it together yet. I wonder if coaching will help him improve in coverage, but I think he will probably end up being an above-average coverage linebacker. The concern I have is that whether his size will hinder him more versus the run in the NFL, thus diminishing his value a bit. Personally I think he will still be a good run defender, especially in an attacking scheme, and I think his coverage ability will be good enough to be a regular starter.
Projection: 3rd-4th round: I think he could go in the mid-3rd round range but he could also slide into the early 4th round. He is undersized which is the most significant issue he has, but he is not as good in coverage as you would like to expect given his great quickness and closing speed. He could still develop into a better cover-man, but right now his value is about a mid-3rd rounder in my opinion and that is where I expect him to go.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.5
PASS RUSH: 2.5
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