Pro Football Focus, everyone's favorite NFL performance grading site, has been running their annual offseason Secret Superstar series which aims to highlight one underrated player from every team. According to PFF, the Eagles' secret supertar is none other than defensive end Vinny Curry.
Even with Curry’s insane preseason, he was yet again inactive for the first two weeks of the season. The frustration mounted and Curry’s agent, Kevin Connor, issued a statement saying that his client just wanted to play and would be open to a trade. Thankfully, it never escalated further than that and the Eagles end was on the field recording his first career sack on Alex Smith in Week 3.
The rest is history and Curry quickly settled into his role playing mainly in sub-package as a pass rushing specialist. In his 322 regular season snaps, Curry performed that role better than any 3-4 end in the NFL sans J.J. Watt. Curry registered 32 combined pressures in 217 pass rushing snaps for a Pass Rush Productivity grade of 11.6. Not only was that the second best PRP last season, but it was also the second best PRP we’ve ever seen from a 3-4 end in PFF’s seven seasons of data. To give you an idea of how crazy 32 pressures is in 217 snaps, Curry had one fewer pressure than Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson even though Richardson had 264 more opportunities (2.2 times as many pass rushing snaps).
That type of production is almost impossible to chalk up to being a fluke. An undersized, second-year end, playing a brand new position, was one of the most efficient interior rushers of the past seven seasons. It’s exciting to think about what could be next for Curry.
Those are some special numbers. While Curry may not appear to be an ideal fit for the Eagles 3-4 defense, there's no doubting he's a pass rushing demon.
The Eagles' dilemma with Curry is that he's stuck behind too very good and young 3-4 defensive ends on the roster in Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton. The only room for Curry is as a rotational player off the bench, which is how he was used last season. Curry logged a mere 26.3% of the Eagles defensive snaps in 2013.
Curry has spent the 2014 offseason bulking up in order to push for a larger role in the defense. Considering the state of Philadelphia's lackluster pass rush, the Eagles might want to find a way to get him on the field more often in 2014.