Former NFL offensive lineman and current analyst Brian Baldinger really likes the game of a rookie defensive player on the Washington Football Team. This player has grown throughout the season and emerged as a key part of Washington's unit.
However, it's probably not the player you're thinking of. Baldinger isn't referring to Chase Young, and actually, the player he praised was taken at the opposite end of the 2020 NFL Draft.
It's Washington safety Kamren Curl, a seventh-round selection out of Arkansas. The defensive back is someone who has become a major contributor on defense, and someone Baldinger really appreciates. Why? Because no matter the situation, Curl is always ready to make a play.
“He’s always in position. Whether it’s at the line of scrimmage or down the field or in pass coverage," Baldinger said on The Al Galdi Show. "You have to know where 31 is at, because he’s going to show up.”
Curl's larger role in Washington was partially brought on by the injury to Landon Collins, who suffered a torn Achilles in Week 7. At the time of Collins' injury, his absence rightfully brought a lot of worry to Washington. It was hard for many to see a way in which Washington could replace his production and experience, even in what had been an inconsistent start to 2020 for Collins.
With no slight to Collins, who Baldinger believes is a major talent, the analyst feels that Curl has done an exceptional job of not making the hole too noticeable.
“I think when people thought when Landon Collins went down that was just going to be just a huge loss," Baldinger said. "I’m not saying it isn’t, Landon Collins is a heck of a player, but Kam Curl just keeps making plays."
Baldinger sees a lot to like in Curl's game, especially his ability to make a play no matter what position he's lined up. Yet, there is one trait about his playing style that has Baldinger really excited, and it's not something that is always associated with defensive backs.
Many tend to look at how a safety defends passes and how many interceptions are totaled. Those are important components, but something that Baldinger sees as missing from the arsenal of numerous players is the ability to come up and make the tackle.
With Curl, Baldinger has noticed that is a strength for the rookie.
"He’s a great tackler, he doesn’t miss tackles,“ Baldinger said. "At safety right now in this league, I see just horrendous tackling around the league, and I don’t care what defense it is. but I don’t see that from Kam Curl.”
“He’s just a pit bull out there. I mean, he just gets after it. He plays a lot of snaps and he plays a lot of different areas on the field," Baldinger said. "But, I can’t take my eyes off the guy, man. He keeps showing up to me.”
Washington's rookie defensive class is and always will be headlined by Chase Young, and that is more than fair. The No. 2 overall pick has done everything and more to earn the attention. The impact of Curl, however, can't be understated.
Baldinger sees that as not only a testament to Curl's skill set and ability, but a clear example of how no draft pick should be overlooked. Though many believe the seventh round isn't home to starters, Curl is proof that teams can find diamonds in the rough even if the selection doesn't seem that flashy.
“We kind of sleep through the seventh round of the draft, most people do. And then all of the sudden The last six weeks you see Kam Curl show up and you go ‘well maybe we should pay more attention to the seventh round, maybe we shouldn’t just throw those picks away. Maybe we should really look at the safety position and how we could really restock it and retool it with a guy like this,'" Baldinger said. "Because that’s what he’s done for the Washington Football Team.”