Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo likely had Robert Quinn rated near the top of their draft board, but they probably never thought he’d actually be available when they came “on the clock” for the 14th overall pick.
Spagnuolo is known as a defensive line guru- given the deeply talented ‘d-line’ he engineered with the New York Giants- so he should be able to get the most out of Quinn, just like he’s been able to do with Chris Long. Spagnuolo has also been able to get some of the Rams’ late round rookies to contribute (George Selvie, Eugene Sims), so it’s possible that he can get Quinn (who is much more talented than either Selvie or Sims) to play like a quality right-end even as a rookie.
But although Quinn was a very smart and exciting pick by the Rams, fans need to recognize that it might not all be gum drops and chocolate rivers in the beginning, so let’s take a look at Robert Quinn: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly…
Quinn has impressive speed (4.7 second 40-yard dash) and quickness that will allow him to develop solid pass rush moves, and it will also help him to take down speedy running-backs in the backfield.
His size (6’4″ 265 pounds) is almost perfect for a right-end in Spagnuolo’s defense. He is light and quick enough to consistently get to the quarterback, but he’s also big enough to where he won’t be easily overpowered by offensive-tackles, or by the run game.
Also, outside of his suspension last season, he is known as a hard working player with a solid head on his shoulders. But this brings me to my next point…
He got suspended by the NCAA for illegal interaction with an agent, which was probably a poor judgement call on his part, but it’s not exactly a capital offense either. He is not a law breaker, and he certainly doesn’t suffer from a bad attitude or a questionable work ethic.
What that does mean, however, is that he missed an entire year of football.
Quarterback Sam Bradford practically missed a full season of football before entering the draft (he played in three games before a shoulder injury ended his season), but Bradford was able to play well as a rookie due to his desire and natural talent. But the Rams were very lucky with Bradford, and it would not be fair to expect an equal amount of success out of Quinn’s rookie campaign, but it’s certainly possible.
There is also the issue with his brain tumor. The tumor is not breaking news, as people have known about it since he was in high school. It is a benign tumor- meaning it lacks the ability to metastasize. Doctors will frequently check up on the tumor in hopes of preventing it from ever becoming a threat.
It would be a terrible tragedy if his tumor were to ever interfere with his life or football career. Just hearing the words “brain tumor” is scary on many levels. Fans will just have to trust the judgement of the team’s medical staff, but it should not be a problem.
Seattle badly reaching for offensive-lineman James Carpenter (Alabama) in the first round (25th overall) was pretty darn ugly…Perhaps a desperate reaction to their division rival adding an elite defensive-end prospect to their arsenal?
Also, second year player Russell Okung will likely play left-tackle for the Seahawks, which will put the rookie (Carpenter) at right-tackle, meaning Chris Long will have the pleasure of facing off against a “rook” twice next season. That should allow for some payback for the ugly season finale the Rams had against Seattle.
Fans have been expecting a defensive-lineman with that No.14 pick for a while now, but everyone assumed it would be a solid prospect, such as Corey Liuget (Illinois) or Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), as oppose to an elite prospect like Quinn.
Quinn has the intensity and athletic ability required to excel, maybe even as a rookie. But fans shouldn’t expect him to dominate immediately since he missed the entire 2010 season.
However, it would not be outrageous for fans to expect solid play out of Quinn in a rotational role with veteran James Hall. Also, look for him to display flashes here-and-there of an elite pass rushing ability.
But no matter how his rookie season unfolds, he should be a fun player to watch regardless.