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Curry can make mark as one of draft's top rushers

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By Eli Kaberon

Following the Giants' run to the title in Super Bowl XLVI, every NFL team is looking for more help when it comes to rushing the passer. New York had a deep stable of pass rushers who could attack the quarterback on every snap, and that strategy helped the team win its second Lombardi Trophy in five years this past February.

The 2012 draft is filled with pass rushers, but few have the pedigree of Marshall DE Vinny Curry. Over the past two seasons, Curry has recorded 23 sacks and nine forced fumbles, making him a sought-after player by teams looking to improve their rush.

Curry spoke with PFW about his skills as a pass rusher, why he ran a better 40-yard dash at his pro day than at the NFL Scouting Combine, and how his training to become a male nurse impacted his football career.  

PFW: What changed for you during your final years at Marshall, compared to early in your career?
Curry: I really became a student of the game. I learned so much there from a defensive end by the name of Albert McClellan. Now he plays linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens. Basically, coming in, I was a pup, had to pay my dues. Really had to understand the college-level game of football, how different it was from high school, just making that transition. Everything couldn’t just be off raw talent. So, later in my career I became a student of the game, did a lot of film study, just worked hard and tried to become that guy.

PFW: The Herd won the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl last year. How important was that for you and your team?
Curry: Prior to me coming back as a senior, when I announced to the world that I was coming back for my senior year, my goal was to help my team to get to a bowl game and to win that bowl game. So, it definitely was a mission accomplished and a fresh breath of air, and it was really important for me to go out on top as a senior.
PFW: Were you pleased with your performance at the Senior Bowl? What did you learn?

Curry: I had two sacks, pass breakups, a couple tackles for loss. I definitely feel like my point got across that I can play with the best of them. Getting invited to an all-star game was a major accomplishment. Representing Marshall University and Conference USA to showcase my talents, with the best of the best in college football who will be in the 2012 NFL draft, it was an amazing feeling. Coming out, trying to outplay the rest of the defensive ends that were there.

PFW: What was it like to work with the Vikings' coaching staff for a week?
Curry: It was great; it was an awesome experience. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot of things. The Vikings' coaching staff was an awesome staff; it was great to be around those guys. They just really gave me a heads-up on what they expect on the next level.
PFW: Which part of your game do you feel is most ready for the NFL?
Curry: My pass-rush skills are a great asset, just getting to the quarterback. We all know the NFL has turned into a pass-heavy league, and I just feel like I can help some teams win ballgames by getting to the quarterback. I’m consistent and I’ve shown, time and time again, that when it’s time to make a big play that I can be that guy.
PFW: What are you still looking to improve?
Curry: On the next level, guys watching film, just like this year. So I’m definitely looking to improve, trying to get a cheat sheet on opponents. Some technique things need to be cleaned up. I’m always looking to learn, I love to learn and I have a passion for the game, so that’s what's going to help me out on the next level.
PFW: Why do you think you ran a better 40-yard dash at your pro day (4.64 seconds) than at the Combine (4.91 seconds)?
Curry: If you go back and watch the 40 at the Combine, towards the end I kind of like nipped myself, which gave me like a little stumble. I should have stopped, but I didn’t; I kept going. You see all those guys there; it’s really out of your comfort zone, so I just didn’t get down and run. At my pro day, it was on a track, it was my atmosphere, it was in the Joan C. Edwards Stadium, so I wanted to put on a show. I was really proud of myself that day. Prior to the run at the Combine, I knew I was way faster than that. So it really wasn’t no sweat. So at my pro day I proved I was a 4.6 guy, ran it unbelievable two times, so it really was a blessing.
PFW: You mentioned being in a comfort zone. Is being nervous under the spotlight an issue moving forward?

Curry: I’d say put on the Senior Bowl tape, if you think I was nervous in the Senior Bowl — well, I don’t know. I don’t get nervous, putting on the pads or anything. At the Combine, like I said, if I hadn’t tripped over myself, I probably would have run a faster time. That was just one hiccup. Definitely not nervous, something I’ve been doing since I was 8 years old. So I have a love for the game, a feel for the game; it’s been something I’ve been doing year in, year out. I’m just looking to make an impact in the league and make my mark.
PFW: One of the knocks on you is your academic issues, because you didn’t qualify out of high school and had to take an extra year. Is that something teams have been concerned about?

Curry: No, definitely not a concern. People just don’t really know the story. Out of high school I just didn’t have the required 13 core classes because I was going to school half the day and studying to be a male R.N. (registered nurse) at Monmouth County Vocational School. So it definitely wasn’t a grade issue; it was just an issue half the day and (I) didn’t have the core classes. So, when it came time to count the classes senior year, my grades didn’t comprehend with the test scores. So, it wasn’t a grade issue; I was trying to be a football player and do something in the medical field, but then I switched it up and wanted to do football full time.

I’m a dean's list guy, finished this last year with a 4.0 GPA, so it’s not a classroom issue. I graduated this past December with two minor degrees, sociology and criminal justice. So it’s been a great ride. A lot of people see the Prop 48 and get nervous, but it wasn’t that issue. I was trying to become a registered nurse, so that’s what it was.

PFW: Have you been working out only at defensive end, or other positions as well?
Curry: No, I’ve been working out at linebacker and defensive end. Been doing some drops here, working out at Competitive Edge Sports with some NFL guys in Atlanta, watching how those guys move their hips and stuff. I’m still training in Atlanta, still trying to learn new things. 

PFW: Would you feel comfortable playing somewhere else on the field?
Curry: I’d feel comfortable (at linebacker), because at the end of the day I’m a football player. It’s not like I’ve never played linebacker before; I have at the high school level. Out of the gate it would be a learning process, but everything will be a learning process for a rookie, anyways.
PFW: On your page on the Marshall site, it says bowling is one of your hobbies. Do you still bowl, and what’s your high score?
Curry: The best score I ever rolled was about a 220. That was a long time ago. I’m really not as good as I used to be. When I was a Prop, I would bowl every day. That was one of the things that got me through high school. I haven’t been bowling in a while.
PFW: What would you say are your favorite music and movies?

Curry: Right now I’m listening to a lot of Meek Mil, kind of gets me going. I’m more of a funny-movie guy, sports movies. I like 'Remember the Titans,' 'Stomp the Yard,' stuff like that.

PFW: Finally, have teams given you any indication of where you may go come draft weekend?

Curry: No, they just say that I’m not No. 1 on their board, but I’m not at the end of their board (either). So I’m somewhere in the middle. I would say this: Running that 4.6 two times in a row really helped me out.


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