Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina Tar Heels
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
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Robert Quinn sat out the entirety of the 2010 college football season due to a suspension stemming from an NCAA violations scandal that rocked Chapel Hill (more on that later), but remains one of the most attractive pass rusher prospects available in this April's draft.
Quinn is an aggressive pass rusher, but he's one that is in control. He'll overrun plays at times, but he's shown patience and an ability to read the play as well. He's been seen sniffing out screen passes and recognizing option plays, although some have criticized him for over-pursuing. He's quick off the snap, has good leverage and elite speed, and he has a tremendous first step to get a jump on offensive linemen. He's also capable of chasing down ball carriers from behind, and he has good lateral movement and can get off blocks to help in run support.
Quinn is able to use his hands very well and accelerates quickly, further adding to his potential as an NFL pass rusher from the 4-3 end spot or 3-4 outside linebacker position. He can shed blocks even when locked up, although against bigger offensive linemen in the NFL, he may struggle. Finally, Quinn gives it his all play after play. He plays all the way to the whistle and won't quit after missing a tackle.
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One of the biggest knocks on Quinn has been that he needs to improve his strength and even add some bulk to his frame. He wasn't pushed around as a pass rusher in college, but as a rookie in the NFL, whichever teams drafts him will likely look to get him into the weight room, especially if he's used as a 4-3 end. Adding weight and strength will also help him in run support. He certainly has the frame to get stronger.
Quinn played only two seasons of collegiate football and missed a junior season which he could have used to cement himself as a top-five pick. Teams don't have as much film of Quinn as they may like and his relative inexperience compared to other pass rushers like Von Miller and Ryan Kerrigan may worry some scouts.
After collapsing as a senior in high school, a CT scan revealed that Quinn had a brain tumor that required emergency surgery to remove. Fortunately, it was found to be benign. Quinn was the recipient of the 2008 Brian Piccolo Award, given annually in the ACC since 1972 to the most courageous football player in the conference. The award is in memory of the late Brian Piccolo, who was an ACC Athlete of the Year and played for the Chicago Bears before being diagnosed with cancer.
Quinn has some explaining to do when he sits down with NFL teams regarding his involvement in an NCAA violations scandal that resulted in his as well as several other players' suspension from the team. Quinn was found to have accepted $5,642 in benefits from an agent.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Prior to his suspension, Quinn was considered a possible top overall pick, and was in fact listed as such on a number of preseason mock drafts. As is typical, a lot changes over the course of the season that throws those preseason mocks into disarray, but Quinn is still considered a top ten talent and could even be selected in the top five. Quinn could go as high as #3 to the Buffalo Bills, but seems more likely to fall somewhere closer to the fifth or sixth pick where Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns are picking. Arizona would likely use Quinn as a 3-4 outside linebacker, while Cleveland, moving to the 4-3, would use Quinn as a 4-3 end. The Tennessee Titans, picking eighth, could give him a look as well, while Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans are also possibilities.
Danny Hobrock, a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB is the editor of our college football content. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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