Safety Kamren Curl's rookie season was the epitome of finding a diamond in the rough for the Washington Football Team. From seventh-round pick to the highest-rated rookie safety, he became a starter, a steal and one of the most impactful players on the roster.
Given his standing coming into the 2020 campaign, everything Curl achieved essentially exceeded the expectations of everyone except maybe himself. Selected toward the end of the draft, any production would have been nice. Three interceptions, a touchdown and sound tackling while starting a playoff game was all that and more.
In Year 2, the expectations for Curl will be different. He will no longer fly under the radar as he looks to take the next step in his sophomore season. Adjustments by other teams and competition at the position in Washington will present challenges.
According to Curl's teammates, though, it's something he's ready to handle. Landon Collins' Achilles injury in Week 7 opened up a path for Curl to earn more time on the field, and he ran with it and never looked back becoming the starter into the postseason.
Collins is now back and looking to make an impact once again, and though Curl could be viewed as a threat to his playing time, the veteran doesn't see it that way.
“No sir, honestly. I’m just happy that he played the way he played. He’s been playing excellent, he stepped into the position very well and man, I’m proud of him," Collins said. "I’m proud of him.”
Cheering him on from the sidelines last year and seeing first-hand how admirably he filled in, Collins believes that having one another to work off of can only be beneficial for both sides. He doesn't view it as a battle, but rather a partnership. The more talent, the better off the defense is,
“Because you know what I’m saying, I’m getting older," Collins said. "He’s the younger guy, the more he learns from me and the more we learn from each other, the better we are as a defense and the better we can get to that championship.”
Collins isn't the only one impressed with the second-year pro. Newly signed safety Bobby McCain has had just one day of work with Curl, but from what he's seen early on in 2021 and from a distance in 2020, he sees big things for him in Year 2.
“He’s a good player, versatile player," McCain said. "He can play a couple different spots. He’s a good player, good tackler. Good in coverage.”
“Him being a rookie last year, being thrown into the fire, as I told him, that’s a big deal that’s a good deal that you played well," McCain said. "Now you can build off that and you can only go up from here.”
Curl took a huge step in Year 1, and now another one will be expected of him this time around. His impression as a rookie only raises the stakes. To his teammates, the dreaded sophomore slump doesn't seem likely.