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- Position: Cornerback/Safety (CB/S)
- Class: Senior
- College: Miami (OH)
- Ht/Wt: 5'11", 195 pounds
After spending his whole college career as a full-time basketball player, Quinten Rollins decided to return to football with a semester of eligibility remaining. In the process, he picked up seven interceptions and was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. How does he project in the NFL?
The answer is: raw, and probably not as a cornerback (which he played in college). Rollins made some splash plays on the tape I saw, and it's clear that he has good ball skills. He can catch with his hands and attacks a ballcarrier's arms when wrapping up a tackle. He hits hard (for a smaller defender) and follows through on his tackling. He tracks plays fairly well and is great at sniffing out screen plays.
That being said, there are a lot of parts to his game that need work. Rollins just doesn't have the field sense developed to play man or zone cornerback. A savvy receiver like Jared Abbrederis would eat Rollins alive with fakes and complex routes. Rollins is slow for a cornerback, and has stiff hips. He often played in off coverage and immediately flipped his hips because he knew he didn't have the deep speed to keep up with faster receivers from a backpedal. While his explosion in the short area is good, he loses the advantages of that quickness by starting so many plays by turning his hips away from the line of scrimmage. He also was often blocked away with ease in run support, though if he had a free lane he did a good job making the tackle.
In evaluating Rollins, I don't see a way he can stay at cornerback and start in the NFL. He lacks both the agility and the long speed to play there full time. He does have enough of both to stay at safety, which I think is a good fit for him. It allows him to play downhill and trust his speed a little more, and can open up opportunities for him to create turnovers. It lets him move from a liability to a versatile chess piece on the defense - one who can blitz or drop into coverage.
With that in mind though, Rollins still has a long way to go. He's very inexperienced, and there's no guarantee he even wants to stick with football, given that he was always a basketball player first and foremost. I wouldn't draft him until the fifth round.