Next Level for Kamren Curl | Washington Commanders
Updated: May 11
By Adam Aniba
The situation at safety has been a murky one, since the death of Sean Taylor. Although the FS position is still a work in progress with Bobby McCain and 4th rounder Percy Butler, Kamren Curl has solidified himself as the team's starting strong safety and arguably the best DB. Curl is much more than a typical SS and unlike other Washington strong safeties during the Snyder era, Curl's shown the ability to be effective in coverage.
Unearthing a late round diamond such as Curl (7th round #216 overall) during the '20 draft, allowed Ron Rivera to move on from Landon Collins and his significant cap hit. Although Collins could be re-signed to contribute in a hybrid role and contribute in the Buffalo Nickel, Curl is the unquestioned starting strong safety and has the ceiling to be one of the top safeties in the league.
In two 2 seasons, the former Arkansas Razorback defensive back registered, 187 tackles (125 solo), 9 PD, 1 FR, 6 TFL, 8 QB hits, 3 int 1 TD. Curl has also displayed his durability since being drafted, playing in 16 games in back-to-back seasons.
The Commanders safety excelled at stopping mobile QB's on designed runs & scrambles, but also his ability to read and attack screens. His best attribute might just be his field awareness. The situational awareness Curl displayed '21, especially in 3rd downs situations was proof of his ascension as an NFL defensive back.
The Next Level
In last season's matchup vs Seattle, Curl was deployed as a pass rusher, recording a sack and even had a few snaps covering Tyler Lockett, who he lined up in the slot.
Not many strong safeties in the league posses the type of versatility Curl brings to the table. Rated as one of the top safeties during his rookie year, he continued to be one of the few bright spots on Del Rio's '21 defense.
Although Curl is a force when playing close to the line, his ability to cover any pass catcher on the field, make him a player to watch for the Commanders this season. Washington's defensive backs struggled with coverages miscues last season with Curl being one of the few bright spots.
Ideally, rookie FS Percy Butler will show enough through the season to grab the starting role at some point. Until then, it'll be imperative to utilize Curl's ability in coverage if Washington's defense hopes to bounce back from a disappointing season. The Commander's pass defense ranked 29th in yards allowed for the '21. Fans should expect to see more pressure applied from the front seven this season, which should lead to more opportunities for turnovers.
With only 11 interceptions recorded last season, it's imperative the defense takes advantage when opportunities arise. After recording 3 interceptions during his rookie season, Curl had none last season. The former Razorback left a few potential interceptions on the field last season, that he'd love to have back.
Curl displayed his role as a leader last season and will be asked to continue that this year. The former 7th rounder continues to overachieve and improve in pass coverage, but his ability to be one of the most dependable tacklers in league, should lead to a big year.