2011 NFL Draft Results: St Louis Rams Select Robert Quinn, Improve Pass Rush

Ethan NovakAnalyst IIApril 29, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a sack with teammate Marvin Austin #9 against the East Carolina Pirates at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With the 14th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the St Louis Rams selected Defensive-End Robert Quinn, a dangerous speed-rusher out of the University of North Carolina.  

In a draft with plenty of surprises, highlighted with Minnesota's selection of QB Christian Ponder at 12th overall, it was a shocker to the Rams' front office when Quinn fell to them.  

Only a year ago, Quinn was regarded as a probable Top Three selection in the NFL draft and has never at any point had his potential questioned.  So how does Quinn stack up as a prospect?   


Height: 6'4''

Weight: 265 lbs

40-yard dash: 4.7s


At the University of North Carolina, Quinn racked up 86 tackles, 13 sacks, and four forced fumbles in just two seasons in the program.  

Strengths: There's Plenty

A smart defensive-end with explosive speed and burst, Quinn has the ability to get to the quarterback as well as anyone in this draft.  He is athletic enough to drop back into a zone coverage if needed and he possesses rare instincts against the pass. 

Given head coach Steve Spagnuolo's love for pass-rushers, you can see why the Rams chose him here.  With players like Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara, Illinois DT Corey Liuget, and Cal DE Cameron Jordan still on the board, Spagnuolo went with the man with the most upside in terms of causing pressure. 

At 6'4'' and 265 lbs, he definitely has the size to be an NFL defensive end.  If the Rams can bulk him up, he will be downright scary.

Of course, every prospect comes with his list of weaknesses.  

Off Field Concerns: Don't Worry About Them

Not playing a single down in the 2010 football season due to being ruled ineligible by the NCAA, there are a lot of questions surrounding Quinn, which is probably why he managed to fall to the Rams.  

If you haven't heard by now, in 2009, Quinn was a star at UNC and was expected to lead one of the best defenses in football to a possible BCS bowl in 2010.  However, shortly before the 2010 season started, Quinn was questioned by investigators about receiving illegal benefits and travel accommodations while at school, a major violation of NCAA rules.  It was determined that Quinn lied to the investigators, and he was deemed unallowed to play a single down last season.  

First of all, don't worry about Quinn's character.  Most people have said he has a great personality and that the NCAA ruling was simply an unfortunate series of events for the prospect.  Quinn had the option of leaving school and spending his time preparing for the draft, but Quinn opted to stay in school and be with the team.

Weaknesses: They're There

In terms of skill set, Quinn isn't perfect.

He lacks productivity against the run, often struggling to get out of run blocks and locate the ball.  He lacks an arsenal of power and speed moves, usually relying on his speed to get around blockers. There were times in college where if he'd get locked up, he would lose his drive and sort of give up on the play.  He also struggles to make tackles in open territory.  

Bottom Line: This was a Great Pick

Head coach Steve Spagnuolo is a master at developing linemen into dangerous pass rushers.  Chris Long and James Hall thrived in his system last season and in due time, the same will happen to Quinn.

Learning from Spagnuolo, Hall, and Long, Quinn will be develop pass-rushing moves over the next couple seasons and will one day be a legitimate force in the NFL.  He already has the speed to be a dangerous threat, once he learns how to twist, turn and swim his way to the quarterback, Quinn could be terrifying.  

If there is one thing Steve Spagnuolo knows, it is defense.  If there is one thing that Steve Spagnuolo knows about defense, it is pass-rushing.  The Rams may have not selected a guy anyone was expecting the Rams to pick, but you really have to trust the genius mind of Spags here. 

When he and Long form one of the most successful pass-rushing duos in football in a couple seasons you'll be thanking him.




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