This post is part of a continuing series in which we break down 13 2011 NFL Draft prospects - our Baker's Dozen - that should interest the Buffalo Bills. Keep up to date on our Baker's Dozen series here.
One player that is still not mentioned as often as he could be by Bills fans as an option at No. 3 is North Carolina pass rusher Robert Quinn. Despite lavish praise from the likes of Mike Mayock and others - as well as the falling draft stock of a few of this year's bigger-name defenders - most people expect Quinn to have a tough time cracking the Top 10. This is a highly athletic and talented player, however - and he is a versatile athlete that could play outside linebacker in Buffalo's 3-4 defense.
Defining Trait: Explosive Athleticism. Guys with Quinn's size and speed don't grow on trees. It goes beyond "speed," too - Quinn is a phenomenally smooth and fluid player for a 265-pound (and potentially bigger) defensive end. He's so athletic that some NFL teams may ask him to bulk up a bit, even if they're still projecting him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Quinn's balance, bend and burst make him the best pure speed rusher in this draft class not named Von Miller - and he's only scratched the surface.
Pass Rush. Extremely fast off the ball. Bends the edge with the best of them, staying low throughout the arc; this will give even the league's best offensive tackles fits. Closes on the ball extremely quickly. Stunts well to the inside thanks to solid hand technique. Not an explosive tackler, but typically has enough momentum to force the ball loose upon contact. Will get the hustle sack as well, as he's got a dependable motor. Underdeveloped array of rush moves (does have a good spin move), as he relied mostly on his unique athleticism at UNC. Inconsistent against the double team. Still somewhat inexperienced, and hasn't quite mastered the art of setting up blockers.
Run Defend. Lacks the base power to anchor and be stout against the run. Has good range. Hustles and makes plays in pursuit. Has the hands to disengage from blockers and make a play on the ball, but is rather inconsistent at gaining that separation. Wraps well, and a very technically sound tackler. Gets tall in his stance, and will need to learn to play with better leverage - particularly if he's setting the edge.
Coverage. Very limited experience in this area, but he's done it. Has the prerequisite change of direction skills to handle this responsibility athletically. In rare instances, has appeared relatively comfortable in space. Drops well.
College Production. Did not play at all in the 2010 season due to an NCAA suspension that we'll cover in his character scouting report. As a true sophomore, piled up 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks playing as a centerpiece on one of the most talent-loaded college defenses in recent memory. Also of concern: many of his sacks came against woeful opponents.
Robert Quinn: College Statistics
|Robert Quinn Totals||25||86||25.5||13.0|
Athletic Traits. Excellent size. Has long arms and the frame to get slightly bigger if he, or his team, so desires. Superb on-field agility, though it doesn't show up in his Combine numbers. Rarely off his feet, as he has impeccable balance. Very fleet of foot with excellent quickness and an explosive burst.
Robert Quinn: 2011 Combine Results
|Robert Quinn||DE||North Carolina||JR||6040||265||34.0||10.1||4.70||22||34"||7.13||9'8"|
Injury Issues. This is a significant red flag for Quinn. In 2007, several blackouts and repeated headaches caused Quinn to see a doctor, and he was soon diagnosed with a massive benign brain tumor. He underwent a life-threatening procedure to reduce the tumor's size, and to this day, he still gets an MRI every six months to check that the tumor is not getting bigger. At one point, his doctors told him he'd never play football again. This is a potentially unique medical case in the history of the NFL, and the team that chooses Quinn will need to be sure that the continuous nature of his treatment won't be a long-term problem in a sport that's plagued with head injuries.