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News » Peterson trade doesn't change Lions' strategy


Peterson trade doesn't change Lions' strategy


Peterson trade doesn't change Lions' strategy
ALLEN PARK -- Aaron Curry, a Wake Forest linebacker and possible No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, was eating breakfast Monday at the Detroit Lions' practice facility when Julian Peterson walked into the cafeteria.


"I knew immediately who he was. I've watched Julian Peterson play for a long time," Curry said. "He came in and sat down right in front of me. I don't think he knew who I was, but he acted like he was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet him. He gave me a lot of good advice about how to be successful in the NFL, including working hard and staying levelheaded."

Peterson, a 10-year veteran and five-time Pro Bowler, had just been dealt to the Lions in exchange for defensive tackle Cory Redding, who was sent to the Seattle Seahawks. At first glance, it appeared Peterson's presence might eliminate Curry as Detroit's first pick in the draft because they both play strong side linebacker.

Curry, though, was thrilled to see Peterson.

"When I found out about the trade -- I'm a positive person -- the first thing I thought was that I'd be playing middle linebacker for the Lions," Curry said. "I'm a versatile player."

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew agreed with Curry's assessment, saying the Peterson trade does not change Detroit's draft plans.

Mayhew, adding the Lions already had talked about Curry's ability to play the middle, said: "We're familiar with Aaron, we've watched him a lot. We feel comfortable that he could start at (middle linebacker) from day one."

Curry was in Allen Park as part of an on-site interview with the Lions, who already had hosted two other potential No. 1 picks: Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and Baylor left tackle Jason Smith. Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji is expected to visit the Lions today, according to NFL.com.

Most draft analysts predict Curry will go No. 1 to Detroit or to the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 3 overall) or Seahawks (No. 4). Still, he said it is important to him to go first.

Mayhew said acquiring Peterson fills one of the Lions' two linebacker needs.

"We wanted to get bigger there. I think Julian brings two things," Mayhew said, "productivity, not just tackle productivity but sacks, sacks-fumbles, passes defensed, he can intercept the ball, he makes splash plays, drive-killing plays. The other thing he brings his versatility.

"We were very concerned with our ability to rush the passer, and I'm less concerned about that now."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 19, 2009

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Mike Green Name: Mike Green
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