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Originally published Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 2:25 PM

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Seahawks getting more calls for draft deals

Filling their most pressing need, the Seahawks have selected outside linebacker Aaron Curry of Wake Forest with the fourth pick in the NFL draft.

AP Sports Writer

RENTON, Wash. —

Filling their most pressing need, the Seahawks have selected outside linebacker Aaron Curry of Wake Forest with the fourth pick in the NFL draft.

Seattle's highest pick in a dozen years will replace the traded Julian Peterson. Franchise player Leroy Hill, the Seahawks' other starting outside linebacker, also could be gone next year as a free agent.

Curry's head was bowed when his name was announced inside Radio City Music Hall in New York. Curry, from Fayetteville, N.C., then hugged his mother, Chris, and wiped away tears.

The 2008 Butkus Award winner for being the nation's top linebacker joins Green Bay's A.J. Hawk as the only linebackers chosen in the top five since 2000.

"(I expect) to fly around and have some fun," he said of playing next to Lofa Tatupu in Seattle's needy defense.

The Seahawks finished last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and 30th in total defense while sinking to 4-12 in 2008.

He is expected to command at least $25 million in guarantees. Running back Darren McFadden, the fourth overall pick last year, got $26 million guaranteed from Oakland.

When asked in New York what he will do with his new windfall, Curry said he would buy back his mom's recently purchased house, "to make sure she doesn't have to worry about a bill ever again in her life."

The 6-foot-1, 254-pound Curry, who many thought would go to Kansas City with the third overall pick, will be expected to start immediately this fall. The top-rated linebacker in the draft is Seattle's highest pick since Shawn Springs was the Seahawks' No. 3 choice in 1997.

"You know, I've heard some good things about him," current de facto starting linebacker Will Herring said of Curry earlier this month. "A guy like him maybe could help the defense out."

Maybe?

Curry made would-be blockers look like turnstiles on his way to college ball carriers. A criticism of him being a less-than-stellar pass rusher was mitigated, many say, by the fact Wake Forest's defensive schemes did not ask Curry to rush quarterbacks all that much.

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At the league's scouting combine in February, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds. That was tied for the second-fastest among 130 outside linebackers tested. Curry's 37-inch vertical leap was second-highest among the top linebackers. He was regarded as easily the best at his position in this draft, which had no consensus top picks.

Curry didn't exactly sound bashful leading up to the draft about making an immediate splash in the NFL.

"I can come in instantly and make an impact on anybody's defense," Curry told reporters at the combine in Indianapolis. "And (with) my versatility as a linebacker to be able to play in the 3-4, inside or outside, or 4-3, inside or outside, you just can't go wrong."

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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