In the pass game, he does a great job working a jab step inside and instantly exploding toward the outside edge, maintaining his balance and accelerating toward the quarterback as well as any pass rusher in college football. Showcases impressive natural body control when asked to flatten out around the corner and looks natural dropping his shoulder and working a powerful and compact swat to keep himself clean.
Has the first step to consistently threaten the outside and turn the corner but is also very efficient and savvy when asked to change directions and work the inside stunt. However, he needs to do a better job getting off the snap count on time, as he too often is the last defensive lineman moving off the ball — that should improve with more experience. Even so, the guy plays with a motor that runs non-stop, and because of his range and length, he rarely stays blocked for long.
Against the run game, he needs to do a better job playing with a lower pad level initially off the snap since he too often gets high out of his stance and can be jolted backward on contact. However, because he's so long and sudden, he consistently is able to slip the block and close on the football after the initial jolt. He also needs to continue to work on his hand placement vs. the run game, especially when asked to set the edge.
Although he does, for the most part, do a pretty good job remaining disciplined and staying at home with backside contain, he struggles to consistently gain initial leverage on contact when asked to take on blocks. His hands end up on the outside shoulders of opposing linemen, where he can be steered away from the ball. But he does work hard to fight his way off blocks and has the kind of range to close from the backside and consistently make plays in pursuit.
Missed the 2010 season for his involvement in the agent scandal, accepting illegitimate gifts on his behalf. Also, underwent brain surgery as a senior in high school for a benign tumor and made a full recovery and is a two-time defending state champ in wrestling.
Impression: Simply put was the best pass-rushing defensive end I saw in the country in 2009. Needs to check out from a character standpoint, but all the tools are there for him to mature into one the best pass rushers to come out of this class and an impact guy off the edge if he can put 2010 behind him and develop."
As a sophomore -- his final season on the field for the Tar Heels -- Quinn put up huge numbers, registering 52 tackles and leading the ACC with 19 tackles for loss and finishing second in the conference with 11 sacks. Quinn's 11 sacks came in 13 games, one less than it took Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan (the Tennessee Titans' 2010 first-round pick) to record 12.5 sacks.
Quinn appeared poised to cement himself as a top-five NFL prospect. Instead, the North Carolina pass rusher was suspended for the entire 2010 season due to his involvement in the infamous agent scandal that rocked the UNC program.
NFL teams have and will continue to do their homework to get answers about Quinn's suspension. Scouts quick to dismiss some of the other Tar Heel players caught up in the scandal believe that Quinn was simply naive and made poor choices. However, scouts would also be wise to investigate Quinn's inconsistencies on the field. His production came in bunches and typically against inferior talent. Six of his 11 sacks in 2009 came in two games (Duke, Virginia). His other sacks were split between East Carolina (two), Georgia Southern (one), The Citadel (one) and Boston College (one).
At this point in his career, the 20-year old Quinn (he turns 21 in May) relies too much on his burst off the snap. To achieve greatness as a weak-side defensive end in the NFL, an expanded array of pass-rush moves are needed. Prospects blessed with his natural tools don't come around often and some 3-4 teams view the 270-pounder as athletic enough to handle responsibilities of an outside linebacker in that scheme. Quinn is eerily similar to the Giants' first-round pick last year, former South Florida star Jason Pierre-Paul -- quite raw with rare athleticism for a man of his size -- and he won't last long on draft day.
Pass Rush: Inconsistent off the snap. Is often among the last linemen off the ball, though he has such an explosive burst he can still beat the tackle with speed even when late and can leave his opponent grasping at air when he anticipates the snap correctly. Possesses a rare combination of burst and flexibility to dip under the reach of the tackle. Good agility and balance to turn the corner and has very good closing speed. Possesses a good rip move and the footwork to jab-step outside and cut back inside to split the gap; otherwise shows surprisingly little technique.
Run Defense: Too light to hold up at the point of attack on rushing plays designed to go directly at him. Possesses good upper-body strength and explosive hands to shed blocks, but can be engulfed and driven off the ball. Doesn't do a good enough job keeping contain, too often slicing inside and losing his gap integrity when he incorrectly judges the speed of the ballcarrier. Good lateral agility, flexibility and balance to change direction and pursue. Good straight-line speed and effort to pursue.
Explosion: Perhaps his best asset. Can explode off the snap and fly by offensive tackles. Opponents have to gameplan around his burst off the edge. Good use of hands to pop the offensive lineman and shed the block. Arrives with a bang as a tackler. Forced eight fumbles in only two seasons.
Strength: Improving in this area and has the frame to handle an additional 10-15 pounds of muscle without a significant loss in quickness or speed. Good, not great strength at the point of attack. Lacks the sand in his pants to hold up against the run, though he does wrench himself free when he has space to operate. Good strength to drag down the ballcarrier.
Tackling: Good lateral agility and balance to break down in space and make the open-field tackle. Generally wraps up, though he'll go for the strip and miss tackles. Only average instincts but gets to the football quickly when he locates it.
Intangibles: Fluid athlete who appears capable of handling the transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Was occasionally asked to drop into coverage while at UNC. Suspended for the entire 2010 season after an NCAA investigation found that he had accepted benefits from a player agent. Despite the suspension, those close to the UNC program describe Quinn as a quality person and teammate and are endorsing him to NFL teams. Had his senior season at Ft. Dorchester High School shortened due to brain surgery to remove a benign tumor. Was originally told that the tumor and resulting surgery could end his football career. Has had no known complications following the surgery. Didn't start his first career game but did start the other 25 in his two seasons.
Pursuit: Has shown the agility to move around and isn't just a straight forward pass rusher. Doesn't look stiff in the hips and is flexible in the torso. Plays with a lot of effort, so pursuit isn't a question. Has the kind of quickness to break to the outside to beat offensive tackles to the inside.
Run defense: Gets off blocks well, which helps him against the run. Outstanding short area quickness that helps him fire through to the tackle. However, Quinn needs to get stronger to better handle the run. Is better working the edge instead of standing his ground and driving his legs. As mentioned, he has the lateral movement to get outside and make plays.
Strength: Possesses decent strength. Doesn't have tight skin, but consistently jolts blockers with his first hand move. Sheds blocks especially well with an arm swipe. Still developing in this area and has the frame to get much stronger. Can be easily washed out by double teams.
Tackling: Explosive on contact, as evidenced when he had an nasty effort sack against Duke in 2009. Better tackling in the open field than most college defensive ends. Does a nice job of sinking his hips and firing through the ball carrier. Gives a great effort at all times.
Technique: Quinn gets so much pressure because of his leverage and hand usage. He does really well dipping to the outside and quickly disengaging.
Final Word: Robert Quinn is an incredibly hard prospect to judge. When he's played, he's played well. But he'll have sat out a whole year after the NCAA ruled him ineligible for accepting $5,642 in benefits from an agent. Still, it's hard to look too negatively at a player who had 19 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks as a sophomore in 2009. Quinn showed he has the talent as a pass rusher to be worth a top 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. His quickness is very good and he an uncanny ability to get around the corner after the passer.
Some teams may have medical concerns about Quinn. In high school, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Even though doctors told Quinn his playing career may be over, he persevered. One thing that can't be questioned about Quinn is his effort. He's a classic to-the-whistle player and gives a great second effort.
To stay as a 4-3 end, Quinn needs to get stronger to help support the run. But he showed in 2009 that he has the athleticism to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. Gets compared to DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys, but isn't quite as complete of a player. However, he has the upside to get there. Offseason workouts will be huge for Quinn."
While the suspension may have hurt the draft stock of defensive tackle Marvin Austin, Quinn, in the eyes of many, remains a likely high-to mid-first round draft pick.
Quinn's physical tools make him a very intriguing prospect.
As a sophomore in 2009, he recorded 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, and was close to taking home ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Quinn’s athleticism is what will likely make pro scouts drool over his potential. His quick first step off the snap makes it tough for blockers to react in time to stop him, making him effective against both the run and the pass. We touched above on how productive a player he was as a sophomore, so it would only make sense for him to continue to improve as he matures physically and mentally. Sitting out for an entire season isn’t expected to have much of an impact at all on his physical tools. Quinn’s combination of size and speed makes him somewhat comparable to guys like Mario Williams and Julius Peppers. The sky is the limit for him, and he still has plenty of room for growth.
At 260 pounds, Quinn could stand to put some more weight onto his frame. At his current size, he’s too small to have much success as a defensive end in the NFL, which is where he most likely will play. At this point, he lacks the coverage skills necessary to effectively play outside linebacker. He isn’t the most physical player, so he often relies too much on his great speed to get past his man. He’ll struggle against big NFL offensive linemen until he gains that strength and is able to develop a bull rush technique to add to his arsenal.
Unlike his former Carolina teammate Marvin Austin, Quinn’s draft stock doesn’t appear to have taken much of a hit despite missing the entire 2010 season. In his most recent three round mock draft, Keet Bailey has Quinn going 16th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. If he performs well at the combine and in his other workouts, don’t be surprised to see his stock rise even more. Many will be eager to see how he performs after missing an entire season’s worth of football activities.
NFL Player Comparison: John Abraham"
Positive: Highly talented prospect who impacts the game in a variety of ways. Tremendous athlete who easily moves about the field and makes plays in every direction. Can turn on a dime, loses no momentum at all, and is fast in every direction. Displays speed off the edge, excels in backside pursuit, and plays with great balance and body control. Tough to block, rarely off his feet, and slips off lineman to make plays on the inside. Plays with good pad level, flashes power, and has the ability to stay within his pass rush angle to get to the quarterback. Possesses an array of moves with his hands. Redirects to the action and makes plays against the run.
Negative: Lacks natural bulk and size. At times takes wide angles around blockers or is easily pushed from the action. Allegedly seemed unconcerned about his suspension last season.
Analysis: Quinn is a difference-making player who can be used in a variety of positions. He possesses the deceptive strength to line up as a defensive end, and he can stand up over tackle in a 3-4 alignment. He offers a tremendous amount of upside and has Pro Bowl ability if he checks out medically and keeps his focus on the field. Quinn comes with a great amount of upside yet also a bit of a risk."
Negatives: Average bull rush... Lacks prototypical bulk... Relies on speed too much... Needs to get a little stronger versus the run... Does not drop into coverage much... Not especially strong at POA... Does not always get off blocks cleanly... Can be pushed back by bigger linemen... Was suspended for the 2010 season for NCAA rules violation, was a top five prospect prior to suspension... Character concerns, how much will his involvement with an agent hurt his draft stock?"
Weaknesses: Character questions will have to be fully addressed during the interview process. Not an elite run stopper, who might possibly be run at. Has a ways to go in terms of his tackling and overall work ethic. May not ever be a true 5-tech candidate, and would thus be limited to the 4-3.
Projection: Will fight it out with Clemson's Da'quan Bowers as the premier pass-rushing DE to come out of this draft class. Top 10 pick, unless there are more character revelations to come out that we are unaware of at this stage."
Quinn certainly has enough potential and talent to be a first round draft pick. As a sophomore he nearly took home the Atlantic Coast Conference's Defensive Player of the Year honors, but fell just short of Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan. Quinn totaled 52 tackles, 19.0 tackles-for-loss, 11.0 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries. There is little doubt that Quinn would have continued to put up great numbers had he played this season.
What stands between Quinn and the first round of the NFL Draft is interviews with NFL personnel leading up to April. Quinn is a physical specimen who has the size, strength and speed to be a great defensive end. It is unlikely that he will lose those skills by sitting out a season."
The defensive end is so agile and athletic that many believe he is blessed with the ability to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, a position for which he exceeds the prototype in terms of size. Quinn understands that football is a game of contact and does not avoid it; on the contrary, he relishes it. He stays low to the ground and displays a solid understanding of leverage, which gives him a better bull rush than one would expect, considering his frame. Everything about this Tar Heel’s game is violent; his explosion off the line of scrimmage, the way he uses his arms to fight offensive linemen, his leg drive in his bull rush and when he tackles a player, they remember it.
While he is most natural when rushing the quarterback, Quinn is not afraid to play the run and constantly chases down plays from the weak side while showing elite lateral agility when he needs to scrape down the line of scrimmage. In 2009 he recorded 52 total tackles and 19 tackles for a loss to lead the ACC, eight of which came against the run. The South Carolina native was a three-time state wrestling champion, winning his third and final title while still in the process of rehabbing from surgery to remove a tumor and drain fluid from his brain—if that doesn’t speak to both mental and physical toughness we don’t know what does. He won the Piccolo Award as a freshman, given to the “most courageous” football player in the ACC.
Cons: Physically, Quinn is a bit thin and needs to add playing weight to his frame to hold up consistently at the point of attack in the NFL, particularly if continues to play along the line of scrimmage as a defensive end. His thin legs and butt are especially concerning, as scouts will wonder if he can be stout against the run or utilize an effective bull rush at the NFL level. Quinn needs to get stronger if he is going to be as effective at the point of attack against the run on Sundays as he has been on Saturdays.
If he does ultimately make the change to playing with his hand off the ground as a linebacker, the Tar Heel will have to prove he can drop back in coverage. Quinn has been deservedly lauded for how he has overcome his brain surgery, but the fact that he had a tumor in the first place is cause for concern. While he hasn’t had any issues since arriving at Chapel Hill and his health issues appear to be a thing of the past, monitoring will be needed, so he may face extra scrutiny from NFL team doctors.
Our View: Assuming Quinn’s health is not an issue, which appears to be the case, he oozes NFL talent. While his athleticism is off the charts, the one thing the NFL has shown is that talent is pointless without a motor, especially for pass rushers. Fortunately Quinn is the rare athletic freak whose motor runs incredibly high at all times. The Tar Heel end plays hungry and that will endear him to NFL coaches. While Quinn plays weak side end in Butch Davis’s 4-3, his best position in the pros might be as a 3-4 pass-rushing outside linebacker—more grace than brawn; athletic, but at the same time violent on the field.
If Quinn has an exceptional junior season and manages to distinguish himself from a very talented collection of front seven players at UNC and around the nation, he will be a lock for the first round. In fact, he will have every chance to jump into the top 10 with impressive showings at the NFL Scouting Combine and UNC’s pro day, should he decide to declare and forgo his senior season as a Tar Heel. Several pass-rushing prospects have had their troubles in repeating double-digit sack seasons…it will be interesting to see how the Mighty Quinn does if he sees more double teams in 2010. The fact that defensive tackle Marvin Austin and linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter returned for their senior campaigns plays in Quinn’s favor.
2009: For a young end, the 6’5” 260-pound Quinn already has the size and strength to take on blockers and shed them. His speed in pursuit of the quarterback and on backside plays is just as impressive, as are his long arms and hand skills that help him to disengage from his opponents. Although, he may not be quite as big as his former high school teammate Carlos Dunlap (and not many people are), he shares a lot of the same characteristics. Coming out of high school, Quinn, was heavily pursued by Alabama before signing with the Tar Heels, The South Carolina native underwent emergency brain surgery to have a tumor removed two years ago. Needless to say, the ultra-talented athlete is doing more than ok."
Strictly based on his sophomore tape evaluation, however, he boasts outstanding bend, balance and burst and clearly can rush the passer. He could stand to improve against the run, but he has the size and athletic ability to get off blocks and will be highly coveted as a sack artist whenever he decides to depart."
Robert Quinn is a magnificent Pass Rushing machine.
He needs a lot of work in the Run Game, but his Pass Rushing repertoire could make him a Star.
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