2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Robert Quinn

Robert QuinnRobert Quinn is still a very young player at the tender age of 20 and it showed last offseason when he was busted for taking illegal benefits and lying to the NCAA. Those infractions led to him permanently losing his collegiate eligibility and has led many scouts to question his maturity. On the field you see a player who is still learning to hone his instincts but has made huge strides since he started at UNC.

He’s widely considered one of the smoothest and most natural athletes in this draft, Quinn displays fluid movement in the open field which allows him to quickly change direction. He shows off a quick burst from the snap allowing him to often be the first lineman off the ball. Quinn shows off impressive speed in his up-field rush, often beating his man around the edge to get to the QB.

He has displayed the ability to drop into zone coverage and appears to feel natural at it. Gets proper depth on drop and is aware enough to know when receivers enter and exit his zone. Can split the double team off the snap thanks to his quickness in hitting the gap. Needs to use his feet better for setting up a stronger base when being blocked.

Having been a productive defensive end in UNC’s 4-3 scheme, many people see Quinn’s natural athleticism and lengthy frame and think he may be a better fit as a 3-4 OLB instead. Many scouts point to Quinn’s athleticism and ability to run in the open field to show why he could easily make the transition from a hand down DE to a stand up LB. He should have excellent range in getting after plays and has shown a desire and ability to pursue plays well down the field. He is considered to have a very strong motor, but lacks the proper play recognition skills to get a pre-snap advantage over his blocker. Would of liked to see more consistency out of Quinn last year (had he played) because he was a very hot and cold player in 2009.

Strength is the biggest area of weakness for Quinn when it comes to watching him on tape. I don’t feel like he has the strength necessary to control the POA, his build is a little thin in the lower body and when watching him v. Castonzo he was pushed back on run plays. This is also a reason why he struggles to get off blocks once engaged. His intial quickness off the snap helps to mask a lot of that but in the NFL that will be somewhat neutralized. His ability to explode out of his stance and hit the gap are amongst the top in this class.

Robert Quinn is one of the tougher prospects in this draft to grade. In only his 2nd year of starting, Quinn put up double digit sacks and tackles for loss and at times flashed the ability to be unblockable. However he hasn’t played football in a year and questions exist about what position he should play in the NFL. He’s just three years removed from brain surgery, but has shown no signs of the tumors returning and gets an MRI done regularly. His decision last season to take improper benefits that exceeded over $5,000 show a lack of maturity and selfishness that is going to bother many NFL executives.

That said Quinn is still only 20 and how many of us could of turned down free stuff at that age? Love or hate his off the field transgression one thing shines through for Quinn and that’s his physical gifts. When you watch Quinn on film you see a player who makes big plays look easy. He flies by some of the biggest and best OT’s in the country with ease on his way to turning the corner and crushing a QB. He hits like a freight train, forces fumbles like its a spare hobby, and can completely take over a game for a drive or two at a time.

There are still drawbacks to Quinn’s game, you want to see him get a little stronger, you want to see him have better awareness, but all of those things are workable. The question with Quinn that NFL teams have to decide on is, has Quinn come a long way since his suspension? Has he grown as a player, a teammate, and as a person? Or is he still a 20 year old kid who just doesn’t quite get how hard this job really is about to become?