This week the Mock Monitor is littered with names of prospects from a variety of positions. With the Falcons selecting at No. 55 in the second round, the debate is open regarding what Atlanta will do with their first pick in the draft. This week, we turn to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, the website's lead NFL Draft scout for help in our spotlight.
Vinny Curry, a defensive end from Marshall, is one of the names that appeared this week, a sound selection as the Falcons may look to improve a pass rush that ranked 19th in the league with 33 sacks in 2011.
In Curry, Miller sees an athletic player with pass-rushing skills that has him ranked among the top-10 defensive ends available in this year's draft. Although Curry, according to Miller, at times over-pursues on an individual play, causing him to misdiagnose a run play, the talent as a force that can get after the quarterback is there.
"Vinny Curry of Marshall is a very interesting prospect," Miller said. "When you see him on film he flashes as a natural pass rusher. The overall athleticism is there, the burst is there and the agility to bend around the edge is there."
The red-shirt senior and team captain finished his final season at Marshall with 21.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and six forced fumbles. Those numbers were good enough to rank the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Curry among the nation's best defensive lineman. In addition to his athleticism, the book on Curry describes a player that plays with explosion and relentless effort.
Miller says the player in the NFL that comes to mind when considering Curry is Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, a similar sized and first-step athlete. While Curry isn't the defender against the run that Cole is, Curry has the ability to improve his game to a level potentially matching the two-time Pro Bowler.
The bidding on Curry figures to be strong since he's an interchangeable 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. His stock may rise to a point that he won't be available when the Falcons select in the second round, but if he's there he could be worth the pick on potential alone.
"If Curry is on the board when Atlanta comes up at No. 55, Thomas Dimitroff should have his guys sprinting to the podium to hand in this pick. Curry fills a need, which is how Dimitroff runs his war room, and he's also a great value at this spot in round two," Miller said.
With the Falcons' history of using speed rushers, Miller sees Curry as a great fit at defensive end. The Marshall defensive end showed an all-around game as a senior adding 72 tackles, one fumble recovery and three block extra points to his playmaking stats.