With just a couple days remaining before the draft, we arrive at the last in the pass rusher series. The last, but not least, prospect: Marshall Senior DE Vinny Curry. The Marshall Thundering Herd play in the MAC conference, which is a decent conference that butts heads with the Big Ten on occasion in non-conference play, but for the most part doesn't provide the level of competition that you see in the BCS conferences. Perhaps because of that when jkvandal did his post-combine post on the pass rushers Curry came out number 1 in the plays/game stat. His total of 1.68 plays/game with 26.5 sacks and 49 TFLs in 45 games blew away the next best 2012 draft prospect Nick Perry. However, the 2011 crop had 4 guys that did better (Aldon Smith, Ryan Kerrigan, J.J. Watt and Von Miller), so it's not that crazy of a number. At the combine Curry didn't participate in the bench press, but his low broad jump and only average vertical jump would have meant that a low number in the bench press would have put him in the bottom 3rd among pass rushers and even a really good showing would have put him middle of the pack.
The Thundering Herd defender didn't show up in my regular season scouting reports, since being at Marshall kept him off the radar. However, the West Virginia college did make a bowl game so I came with a small blurb on him then:
Has the size to be a pass rushing threat in any defensive scheme, but might struggle athletically in the 3-4 as an OLB. His pass rushing game relies on physicality as he relies on rip moves, violent hands and power to get to the QB. Not great in the run game, but doesn't struggle either. (4th round)
That 4th round projection seemed to be a bit premature since once the scouts put in more game tape, his value shot up. He's now squarely in the 2nd round conversation. What they saw was an array of pass rushing moves, good first step quickness, solid closing burst, great leadership qualities, excellent work ethic and a relentlessness on the field. He still has the knock that the 3-4 may not be for him, but scouts differ on the subject. He also might too aggressive for his own good and get taken out of a lot of plays, especially as a rookie. He also has slightly below average arm length, which can be a big deal for his position.
Vinny Curry, Marshall
Height: 6'3, Weight: 265 pounds
Strengths: Incredibly quick off the line and possesses a good first step. Specializes in getting around the corner, but has enough strength to not be a detriment in the running game. Plays with good leverage, and some toughness. Is similar to Cliff Avril of the Detroit Lions.
Weaknesses: Has a hard time getting off blocks at the line of scrimmage and especially has a hard time against length. May have to switch to linebacker in the NFL.
Combine quotable: This year, coming into the season, everybody knew I was coming off a really hot junior year. Basically I knew what I was getting myself into this year as a senior with game planning and double teams and triple teams and chips and sometimes quadruple teams … So my defensive line coach, Fred Tate, he sat me down one day. He said, What you going to do, man? I’m like, What do you mean? He said, You got to to do something else to separate yourself from the rest of the defensive linemen in the country. So I worked on stripping every day. If you look at my strips or forced fumbles, they’re not really from the quarterbacks. I only had one quarterback forced fumble. The rest came from running backs and chasing down screen plays.
Curry isn't really in the 1st round mix and even trading down would be a bit of a reach. The best way to get him would be to wait at pick 49 and hope a 4-3 team doesn't snatch him up first. However, as mentioned, there's talk that he's not a scheme fit for a Chargers 3-4. If that's the case you could see the Chargers pass on him in that spot (as I did in the SBN mock draft) because he's lower on their board than where the experts would rank him.