With the NFL Combine now moving at full force this week, one of the prospects who could launch himself up the draft boards is Marshall DE Vinny Curry.
Curry's big-time potential as a pass rusher is what really catches your eye right off the bat. He's pretty strong at 6'3 and 265 pounds, but it's his speed and explosiveness off the snap that could make Curry one of the steals of the draft.
After a monster senior season in which Curry notched 11.0 sacks, seven forced fumbles and 22 tackles for loss, he won Conference USA Player of the Year honors and suddenly found himself among most folks' top 10 DE prospects.
Obviously playing for Marshall doesn't offer much in the way of exposure or elite competition, but that doesn't mean teams should sleep on the guy. The Falcons certainly shouldn't, because if things go there way I believe curry could be a no-doubt starter for the future.
Here is that potential pass rusher every team is seeking. Curry is strong and relentless off the edge, and so intent on getting to the passer that he is often too upright and vulnerable to a quick cut block. However, he can get down and dirty with a decent bull rush and uses his strong hands well.
With the recent news that John Abraham more than likely will be moving onto less-Falconly pastures this March, the Falcons need an impact pass-rusher now more than ever. In many ways, Curry could become another Abraham.
Now, this DE need could be solved by bringing in one of the many free agent defensive ends available (Robert Mathis, Mario Williams). But if I recall correctly, the Falcons just signed a defensive end (Ray Edwards) to a multi-year contract. Do we want Edwards 2.0 on the Falcons next year? I don't.
With so many changes both coaching and player-wise, I think 2012 will be something of a rebuilding year, and Curry is a great player to start with. He has the versatility to play either D-end or outside linebacker (something Mike Nolan would love). But Curry is also one of the more solid run-defenders in this year's draft class (Mike Smith can appreciate that).
Because of his small-school origins, Curry projects to the second, possibly even the early third round. That's Falcons territory. If Thomas Dimitroff has a shot to draft Curry, I think he'll go for it.
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