Prospecting for Gold: Vinny Curry, DE

The general thought since the Brandon Marshall deal has been that the Bears will go defensive end in the first round, but given the overall strength of their free agency moves, they have the flexibility to go best player available in round one, which is about all you could ask for from your GM. BPA regardless of position is what many of the year-in year-out contenders do, given that they usually have a strong roster to start with. The Bears have a strong roster, made stronger by Phil Emery's savvy moves so they could do anything in round one. If they don't grab a pass rusher at number 19, I have one they should definitely look at for number 50.

Vinny Curry is not a name I was very familiar with, given my general lack-of-knowledge of Conference USA football. His name was dropped on a Bears den or one of the open threads on here over the last couple weeks and so I thought I'd brush up on his resume, and I let his numbers do the talking because this guy looks good on paper.

As a junior in 2010, Curry racked up 12 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Returning for his senior season, Curry rang up 11 sacks and 22 tackles for loss to go with seven forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. His combine performance was somewhat lackluster, managing only 4.98 in the 40 but he did do a 6.90 three-cone which was a top performance for his position group.

However, where Curry really shined was at his pro day last week, where the 6'3" 266 pounder ran a 4.69 and a 4.64 40. The Chicago Bears were there to witness it in person too, for what it's worth.

Speed rushing is his game says

Pass rush: Relentless and strong off the edge as a pass rusher when fresh. Gets under the pads of tackles to bull rush them into the backfield. Gives second and third effort to reach the passer. Uses his hands to swim past linemen. Struggles to beat cut blocks with his hands. Inconsistent get-off, stands straight up into his blocker and does not shed later in games. Plays a bit out of control, loses his balance when trying to shake tackles. Challenge interior linemen with quickness and strong hands when lined up inside.

Run defense: Chase defender outside, has good closing speed and hustle to get to ballcarriers running to or away from him. Works through multiple blockers to get to the ball, or at least force plays to other defenders. May take a false step inside on zone reads, but generally stays at home to keep containment.

Explosion: Usually comes off the snap in a hurry and very strong from either side of the formation. May not beat NFL tackles as a pure speed rusher, but will challenge their upfield shoulder. Quick enough to take inside lane if tackle guesses on speed rush. His initial quickness lets up later in games.

Strength: Plays with intensity and a nice anchor even when giving up 40-50 pounds against most blockers. Shows pop as a bull rusher. Stands up well against the run when lined up at five-technique, but must prove he has the bulk and strength to handle NFL linemen one-on-one or double-teams before moving inside.

Tackling: Possesses NFL-caliber length and strength as a tackler. Makes backside plays with regularity when zone schemes leave him unblocked. Gives great effort, following the ball to either sideline no matter where he is lined up. Adds himself to piles as the third or fourth defender. Spins off piles inside and finds the ballcarrier to drag him down.

Intangibles: Team leader, younger players look up to him. Positive attitude in the locker room, works well with the media. Hustle on the field reflects work ethic off the field. No major off-field incidents. Could have entered the draft in 2011 as a potential top 100 pick, chose to return to "win a championship".

A lot of teams and scouts seem to be pegging him as a 3-4 OLB but the Bears being at his Pro Day (instead of just watching the tape) may suggest they have other ideas. His ability to force fumbles and block kicks, as well as his overall athleticism, just seems right in line with what Lovie likes on his defense. If fans were disappointed the Bears missed out on Kamerion Wimbley, this guy could be a great fallback.

Walter Football wrote this:

Player Comparison: Cameron Wake. Curry is a similar edge rusher to Wake. They both have speed and moves coming from the outside. Like Wake, Curry can beat linemen with speed and shed blocks with good hand work. Projecting Curry to the NFL, I see a player similar to Wake.

NFL Matches: Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England, Buffalo, Kansas City, San Diego, Arizona, Baltimore, Miami Curry could get consideration late in the first round, but is more likely to be a second-day pick. He would be quality value in the second round.

Curry would be a good fit in any 3-4 defense. He would be ideal complement as an edge rusher for Green Bay on the other side from Clay Matthews. Curry could be a quality understudy for the Steelers' James Harrison. For the Patriots, Bills and Chargers, Curry could make a quick impact, as all of those teams could use an upgrade for their edge rushers immediately.

His stock has been rising, even more so with his impressive Pro-Day. He was considered a strong second round candidate but now could sneak into the last few picks of round one. I haven't seen a mock with him in there yet, but it's possible. Should he be there when the Bears get on the clock I see no reason they should pass on him, if they didn't go DE in round one.

Here are some other scouting reports on Curry: and

Here's a decent highlight video (with the overused "Great Expectations" hip-hop song)

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