Last year the St. Louis Rams selected defensive end Robert Quinn 14th overall despite the fact that he missed the entire 2010 season at North Carolina. Quinn has to be one of the main reasons for new head coach Jeff Fisher’s prediction that his 2012 Rams team will break the NFL’s all-time sack record.
While Quinn alone won’t be able to accumulate enough sacks to set that mark, his second season figures to be a much more active one and the Rams have added plenty of pieces around him to give him success as well. ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. made a proclamation about Quinn in the upcoming year saying: “I fully expected Quinn to have a so-so rookie season after sitting out his entire final season at North Carolina. But now comfortable, he could easily double the 5.0 sacks he notched last year. Too much talent to keep down.”
Those five total sacks came while playing 52 percent of the Rams’ defensive snaps in 2011 in a situational pass rusher role. His responsibility will shift this year into a full-time starter with the release of James Hall earlier in the offseason. That move alone showed some real organizational confidence in Quinn’s ability to get the job done. Special teams also saw him make a large impact as he was named the NFC special teams player of the week once and the Rams’ special teams player of the year.
His rookie season was a bit of an acclimation process, but the time spent learning on the job will be invaluable in the upcoming year. If Fisher and Kiper’s predictions are any indication, the Rams should expect a big season from Quinn in the coming year.