CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WITH THE NFL Draft coming up, the memory of Vinny Curry's 2012 selection is fresh in mind.He was taken on the draft's second day, the Friday in which the second and third rounds are conducted. In a rarity, the Marshall defensive end was taken by his favorite team growing up, the Philadelphia Eagles.When he finally returned my call in the 11 o'clock hour that night, you could tell he was beat. Joyful beyond joyful, but beat."Man, it's a dream," an exhausted Curry told me. "You never think those things can happen, but God has it planned out. It's unbelievable."
Curry played six games and had nine tackles with no sacks as a rookie, but I figure bigger things are ahead. He's still working hard and chasing the dream.Friday night, maybe early Saturday, it will be receiver Aaron Dobson's turn. From both on- and off-field standpoints, it will be richly deserved.Curry was selected in the second round by the Eagles with the 59th overall selection. Dobson stands to go a bit later, perhaps early in the third round.Late last week, ESPN's Mel Kiper released his "Grade A" draft, which is NOT a mock draft. Rather, he tries to step into the shoes of all 32 NFL general managers and picks their first three rounds, in order. He even throws in a few trades.He takes Dobson early in the third round with the 65th pick overall, to the Detroit Lions. His quick comment: "A playmaker, Dobson fills a peculiar hole for the Lions. Yes, WR is a need."I know, Calvin Johnson roams Ford Field. But can you name another Lions receiver?In his team-by-team analysis, he expands on that: "It's amazing that WR is a legit need for Detroit, but after what's happened with Ryan Broyles and Titus Young ... well, yeah - enough said."Few mock drafts go into the third round, so position rankings are instructive. CBS Sports (NFLDraftScout.com) ranks Dobson as only the 14th wide receiver and 113th overall prospect, 10 spots behind West Virginia's Stedman Bailey. Analyst Rob Rang compares him to Seattle's Sidney Rice, saying, "Dobson could emerge as a starting-caliber split end despite less than ideal straight-line speed."ESPN Scouts Inc.'s "tier rankings" rates Dobson in "Tier 6," 65th overall and the eighth receiver. Tier 6 is defined as a level that "contains prospects who are worthy of mid- to late-second round consideration." He is graded above average in all traits, and exceptional in ball skills - despite having small hands for his 6-foot-3 size.So you see there is a disparity, though not too great. After the Tavon Austin/Geno Smith mania subsides, you can start listening for Dobson's name near the end of the second round, and do so intently in round 3.Dobson's selection won't just be a boost for Herd fans - it will be a pick-me-up for Kanawha Valley football. Let's put it this way: If you can think of an area player drafted since Capital's Darrion Scott (2004, Vikings) and East Bank's Chris Massey (2002, Rams), you're better than me.
Otherwise, Dobson is going to break a nine-year drought. He has earned it.nn
After the second scrimmage, typically the real highlight of MU's spring, I'll offer up some winners:Joe Massaquoi - The redshirt freshman took a step to possibly expanding the defensive end rotation.Secondary, in general - D.J. Hunter is back home, and Taj Letman could be the real deal by, oh, Aug. 31. Ditto Corey Tindal, the man who will make the 4-2-5 the alignment of choice.
And hey, did anybody miss cornerback Darryl Roberts last year?
One wonders if Chuck Heater, the secondary coach, may have more impact than Chuck Heater, the defensive coordinator. If that makes a shred of sense.Chris Alston Jr. - This could still be one of those "spring stars" - you know, comes up big at this time of year but is buried on the depth chart. But all he's doing this month is ... running routes and catching everything thrown his way.Tyler Combs - Still isn't 100 percent on shotgun snaps, but he'll be the best No. 3 center in Conference USA. His development bears watching.Tommy Shuler - All-conference players aren't supposed to make this list, but this little guy is even more fun to watch than he was as a sophomore. He's picking up a few moves.
Shawney Kersey could have been added, but he is turning into the team's top enigma. He can get open against anybody, but he had a bunch of drops in the two scrimmages.Can he fix that over the summer, or is this another source of anguish for Herd fans?Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.