This year, the Rams celebrated their 7-9 record by drafting Robert Quinn 14th overall in the first round. In doing so, the Rams filled a need on their defensive line. For the first time in a long time, the Rams decided on picking a flashy player instead of a safer option like Corey Liuget. Corey Liuget would have filled a bigger need for the Rams, but Quinn can play a bigger role in the Rams defense then Liuget would have. Even though the Quinn pick could be considered risky, it was a necessary move for the Rams. A young interior lineman to pair with Fred Robbins would have been nice, but the league is more pass happy then ever be.
Hopefully if you are reading this, you have already read 3k's playbook projection article. If you haven't read that article, you really should. This isn't a sequel to that article, its more like a companion article. So after the jump, we will discuss a lot of Robert Quinn and what to expect of him in the future.
When Quinn was a freshman he started 12 out of 13 games. That year, Quinn recorded 34 tackles, six and a half of which were for a loss. He also recorded two sacks and forced two fumbles.
Following a good freshman campaign, Quinn recorded 52 tackles. He was 15th in the league with 19 tackles for a loss, and he also finished 16th in the nation with 11 sacks (not bad for a sophomore year huh?). Additionally, Quinn had three pass breakups and forced six fumbles.
Of course, after that great sophomore season Robert Quinn was suspended by the NCAA.
Awards and achievements.
He was also named the ACC's Brian Piccolo Award winner as the league's most courageous player and finished third in the voting for the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Robert Quinn was named to the All-ACC first-team. He also finished second in the ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting.
He was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in Carolina's 19-6 win over Duke.
This video is Quinn's biggest achievement so far.
Quinn has the skill set to become an elite pass rusher. Quinn has a nice bend/ or dip when he is rushing to get past an offensive lineman. Quinn overcame a brain tumor. I'm sure many players would have just counted their blessings, and said they are done with it. Quinn is aggressive against the run and uses his hands against blockers. Has the speed to chase down the ball carrier from behind. He is a good tackler in the open field. Quinn is an gifted athlete, likely the most athletic guy on the Rams defense. His two best features, however, have to be his explosive ability, and the fact that he forced eight fumbles in just two years.
Quinn isn't the strongest guy, so right now he would be a liability in run support. Quinn is also too light to hold his own at the point of attack against the run. That suspension was a big red flag, since Quinn wasn't able to play last season. Quinn had an impressive sophomore season, but that was just one year. One thing that sticks out about Quinn is the fact that he twist wraps players a lot. That means his body goes to the side while tackling. This isn't a horrible thing; it just shows he needs to bulk up, so he can use his weight and strength to bring the ball carrier down.
This video shows all of his strengths, but it also shows those twist tackles. Also, he is the best arm tackler I have seen in college in a while.
This video where he dominates Anthony Castonzo shows both Quinn's strengths and weaknesses. You get to see his great bend/dip ability. It shows his speed to the QB and how he always hustles. Also, you see his ability to recognize plays. It also shows how he can get beat when the team runs at him.
Below are some questions, you might have about Robert Quinn.
What made Quinn fall to the Rams?
The main reason Quinn slipped to the Rams is because Quinn didn't play last season. Most teams are weary about one-year wonders. That incredible run on quarterbacks in the top ten helped Quinn fall to the Rams also. Plus, the fact that he has a benign tumor was enough to scare teams off.
The Rams were lucky to be able to draft Quinn.
The Rams needed a good pass rusher, and they got one in Quinn. When a top ten talent falls to you, you have to take it and run. He might not be a good force against the run, but you have to remember that the last tape we have on Quinn was his sophomore year. No one knows how well he will play the run this year. Quinn being picked at 14 makes him the heir apparent to James Hall. Even though this was a risky pick, Quinn has the potential to be a premier pass rusher in the NFL.
What can the Rams do to help Quinn become a good player?
The Rams shouldn't rush Quinn on the field, just because he is a 1st round pick. Spags should make Quinn work for the starting job, like he did every other Rams draft pick since he has been here. Quinn should be used in the rotation. Also, Quinn should start off just being a pass rusher on 3rd down during the season, unless he shows he can hold up against the run.
What does this mean for James Hall, and the other DEs?
This means that two years from now it should be Quinn and Long starting at defensive end. Hall will be replaced by Quinn, just not as soon as you might think barring injury. Right now, it appears that Quinn will be the 3rd DE followed by Selvie.
Spags loves moving his defensive lineman around. With Quinn, it will allow other defensive ends to play inside on 3rd and long. It will be interesting to see what Spags has under his sleeve for the Rams defense next season.
This season, the Rams will most likely have five defensive ends. maybe six. I would expect these players to be here next season. Chris Long, James Hall, George Selvie, Robert Quinn, and Eugene Sims. Yes, I know that sounds like a good defensive end core, huh?
When will Quinn start?
Usually, first round picks with Quinn's talent would start right away; however, this is a special case. Quinn missed all of last season, and Hall is still playing well. Also, he will have to start bulking up to stop the run more consistently. Right now, if no one gets injured I would say he would get good playing time, but most likely won't start until the Rams bye week at the earliest.
I compare his game to Dwight Freeney
Of course, I don't mean he will have as great of a career as Freeney has, but they play similarly. They both have a high motor and that explosiveness. Freeney isn't the best run stopper, but all that really matters is the sacks and disrupting the quarterback.
Don't expect Robert Quinn to win defensive rookie of the year. Quinn will likely have an up and down season. The lockout isn't helping him, and that one year not playing football could also slow him down. Expect Quinn to tease the Rams with his pass rushing ability, which should be the reason he will get the nod over James Hall during this season.
My prediction for Robert Quinn's rookie output is 30 tackles and three to six sacks.
How can he overachieve?
He will have to beat James Hall out and start day one. Chris Long and Robbins on the field should help Quinn get a lot of one on one matches on the line. Quinn needs reps, so the sooner the lockout ends the better.
So Robert Quinn might not have the kind of impact his rookie year that past picks made for the Rams. That doesn't mean he was a bad pick. The Rams selected Quinn, because this gives them the chance to groom their own great pass rusher.
The future is bright with Quinn. If Quinn can live up to his potential of being an elite pass rusher, he and Chris Long will form a great duo. The Rams might lack a dominant run defense, but does that really matter in a pass first league? It's too quick to say that Quinn will be a dominant playmaker for the Rams, but it wouldn't be surprising either.
The next two videos are about Robert Quinn overcoming his brain tumor.
UNC Football's Robert Quinn Overcomes Brain Tumor part 1 (via UNCTarHeelsAthletics)
UNC Football's Robert Quinn Overcomes Brain Tumor part 2 (via UNCTarHeelsAthletics)
Also I would like to than Brandon Cobb and the team at http://www.wonderfullymadephotography.com for giving me permission to use that picture.