HOUSTON - OCTOBER 22: Defensive lineman Vinny Curry #99 of the Marshall Thundering Herd lines up against the Houston Cougars at Robertson Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
One big position of need outside of wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars is at defensive end. Despite the fact that the Jaguars were able to bring back their leading sacker from last season in Jeremy Mincey, the team still needs another defensive end. It's possible Aaron Kampman could finally be healthy and return to the line up, but banking on a 30+ year old defensive end with two knee tears in two seasons would be a mistake.
The team also will appear to lose Matt Roth in free agency, so a defensive end will likely be high on their priority list for the NFL Draft. A lot of Jaguars fans seem to be really high on Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry, but I'm not really sure what to make of him. He doesn't have many pass rush moves and he can struggle against bigger stronger tackles, but he does flash some great pass rushing ability.
I'm going to use two games for Curry, because he's a bit inconsistent at times and both games I'm using seem to highlight what he does really well and what he really needs to work on. The first game is Curry against West Virginia and the second game is Curry against Ohio State. As always, the videos are courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.
Curry came in at the NFL Combine at 6'3" and 266 pounds, running a very disappointing 4.98 40-yard dash. While the time looks slow, Curry is another in the long line of examples where you need to look at the game film to judge if he just doesn't run out of a track stance well or if he's actually a bit slow. I think for Curry, it's the former. A lot of experts seem to think Curry fits in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker, but I also believe he can be an effecting 4-3 right end in the NFL.
One of the areas that Curry really needs to work on is his explosion off the ball on 50/50 downs. What I mean by a 50/50 down is when the offense could realistically run or pass, as in this play where WVU has a 2nd and 1. As you can see on the play, Curry hesitates a bit and is slow off the ball. Luckily for Curry, the left tackle lunges forward to engage him and Curry as able to just get right past him. A good tackle however will let Curry come into him and lock him up.
This next play for Curry he's lined up at left end and just gets shut out of the play by the right tackle on the play action. Curry tries to bull rush the tackle, which seems to be his primary rush move, and is stood up and washed wide by the right tackle.
Later in the game in a 3rd and 5, an obvious passing down, Curry is able to pin his ears back and just rush the passer. Curry blows past the right tackle wide and forces WVU quarterback Geno Smith to move in the pocket but winds up losing his feet and falling on the ground. I thought Curry overall had a good game against WVU, though struggled a bit against the run and when the tackle got his hands on him.
The next game is Curry against Ohio State, matched up quite a bit with left tackle Mike Adams. Adams is a solid tackle that likely projects to be a mid-round right tackle or guard convert. Early on Curry tries to use his speed and quickness to just blow past Adams, but Adams runs Curry wide out of the play.
On the very next play, Curry is lined up at left end and gets completely blocked out of the running play as the OSU running back rips off a long run. Curry gets double teamed early, but the tackle peels off while the guard drives Curry backwards.
Here is one particular play where Curry just blows right past Adams however on 2nd and 6. Curry comes off the snap but Adams can't get his hands on Curry, as he goes right around and gets the sack on Terrell Pryor. It was a big play in the game and Curry celebrates a bit too much, drawing an excessive celebration penalty negating his sack.
Overall I think Curry winds up being a mid-second round pick, unless a team like the New England Patriots think he's a fit as an outside linebacker in their hybrid front. He needs to work on some more pass rushing moves other than running wide and bull rushing, but if he can develop than he may turn out to be a guy who can get consistent pressure. He also may need to add a little weight and get stronger if a team plans to use him as a down end, as he struggles against the run and stronger tackles. When the run isn't to Curry's side however, he does an excellent job of pursuing the play and working through the trash to get to the other side of the field and to the ball carrier.