Birds hope DE Curry different from past picks

Birds hope DE Curry different from past picks
April 28, 2012, 2:30 am
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Here are the last five defensive ends the Eagles have selected in the first four rounds of the draft: Brandon Graham, Daniel Teo-Nesheim, Victor Abiamiri, Jerome McDougle and Jamaal Green.

Of that group, only Graham remains, and he has a long way to go before proving himself in the NFL.

Enter Vinny Curry.

The Eagles hope Curry can do what most of the Eagles other defensive end draft picks havent been able to do.

Sack the quarterback.

Those five guys, taken from 2003 through 2010, have 11 combined career sacks, and although the jury is still out on Graham, whos been hurt since late in his rookie year, theres no question that the Eagles believe Curry can make an immediate impact as a pass rusher.

The last time the Eagles drafted a defensive end in the first two rounds who went to a Pro Bowl as an Eagle? Keep looking. Its never happened.

The Eagles acquired Curry with the 59th pick in the draft, late in the second round, after shipping the 51st pick to the Packers in exchange for No. 59 and a fourth-round selection (see story).

Curry grew up in Central Jersey as a huge Eagles fan -- He might be the biggest Eagles fan ever, head coach Andy Reid said -- and in his last two years at Marshall had 23 sacks and 39 12 tackles for loss.

Im just a natural pass rusher, Curry said. The first thing to my game is to get off the ball, and I just pride myself on everything I do. I really hustle to the ball. ... Coach Jim Washburn has great faith in me, and I can promise you I wont let him down.

Curry was Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year last year and a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the nations best defensive player. His 21 12 tackles for loss this past year was second nationally, his six forced fumbles were third in NCAA Division I, and his 11.0 sacks were sixth.

Curry stands 6-foot-4, 265 pounds and said he has no idea why he didnt get picked in the first round, as so many projected.

I have no idea, he said. Its just the way the cookie crumbled. Its the nature of the draft. You never can predict the draft.

Curry did say the draft-weekend snub will motivate him. He said hell carry a chip on his shoulder as he tries to prove all the teams that passed on him wrong.

I expected to go in the first round, but things happen, he said. This is where God wanted me to be at and this is where I wanted to be. Only thing I have to do is get ready to suit up for camp and prove my case.

Reid said the Eagles had Curry rated as a late first or early second-round prospect.

I think thats where most people probably had him, just from talking around, he said.

But the Eagles certainly werent scared off as Curry kept sliding down, through the end of the first round and then most of the second.

Things like this happen every year during the draft, Reid said. He got passed up, but its nothing against his character or his ability. Hes not a problem. Hes been a very productive player at Marshall against very good players.

The Eagles, as they promised, took the proverbial Best Player Available, even though they already have a glut of defensive ends.

He was really just the best player on the board at that time, Reid said. There was no way we could pass him up just sitting there. He wasnt an immediate need or anything ike that.

Behind projected starters Jason Babin and Trent Cole, the Eagles now have Graham, Philip Hunt, Darryl Tapp and Curry. Reid will keep four or five defensive ends.

Whos the odd man out? Or the odd men out?

That will all sort itself out over the next few months.

Thats a good problem to have, Reid said. Thats a real good problem to have. I love that competition in there. Im excited to see how Vinny works in there.

Reid said the pick is not a reflection of Graham, who had three sacks in 12 healthy games as a rookie and will be entering his third season without yet making an impact. Graham was the 13th player taken in the 2010 draft.

Its not a worry with any of the guys that we have, like Brandon, Reid said. Thats not what this is all about. Its just a heck of a young football player.

E-mail Ruben Frank at

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