Before DT Aaron Donald entrenched himself as the Rams’ best player, DE Robert Quinn held a firm grip on that title.
After missing half of the 2015 season due to a back injury that required surgery, Quinn is expected to return to health and team up with Donald again to reclaim the Rams’ spot as one of the league’s best defensive lines. Quinn is two seasons removed from his 19-sack and seven-forced fumble campaign in 2013. He’s compiled 50 sacks through his first five years (54 games started) and enters his sixth NFL season while still at the young age of 26.
Should Quinn’s health and back allow, he is still very much in his athletic prime.
It’s debatable whether we have seen a 100%-healthy Quinn and fully-realized Donald paired together for more than a handful of games. With the ascension of William Hayes (roster preview) and quality depth provided by the rest of the defensive line, Quinn has the proven talent to be another major difference maker the Rams defense will need to become elite.
Quinn is freakishly fast and athletic getting to quarterbacks and not only sacking them but often times forcing fumbles (17 career forced fumbles). His healthy presence was sorely missed in 2015 but he could be on the short list for comeback player of the year for 2016.
Quinn is the best defensive end on the team and will recapture the starting RDE spot whenever the Rams lift any physical practice restrictions. Eugene Sims (roster preview) will be the primary backup to Quinn and newcomer Quinton Coples (roster preview) could also fill in.
Quinn didn’t just battle a back injury in 2015. Ultimately because of his back, he also suffered hip and knee issues that caused him to miss games according to injury reports. Back issues can be tricky for NFL players, especially ones that rely so much on bending the corner vs. offensive lineman.
While remaining cautious if Quinn will return to his 2013 form, he does still rank as one of the league’s most-feared pass rushers. He remains a double digit sack threat, iffy back and all.
Lining up a fully healthy Quinn next to the Rams’ best overall player in Donald has the potential to be dangerous for any offense. Those two players have the ability to affect entire game plans and win games.
I think Quinn replicating his Pro Bowl 2014 season where he had 10.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 6 passes defensed is fairly reasonable. The sack total obviously has the potential to go up.
Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)
There is no question a healthy Robert Quinn makes the final roster. Rams fans should be very excited about his return to the Rams’ defensive line. Opposing offenses will not be as thrilled.