Tag:Robert Quinn
Posted on: February 26, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Quinn's answers could push him ahead of Bowers

Talent evaluators who have done the tape on defensive ends Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers know that the former Tar Heel is the more explosive of the two pass rushers.

That fact is the primary reason why Quinn could leapfrog Bowers as the draft's top defensive end and potentially even the No. 1 pick in the draft.

There are two primary areas of concern with Quinn -- each of which he addressed in today's interview at the Combine.

The most important is his health.

As this excellent article by Andew Miller of the South Carolina Post and Courier explains, during his senior season in high school, Quinn underwent emergency surgery to deal with a brain tumor. The tumor, which was found to be benign, was causing Quinn headaches and even blackouts. It too close to Quinn's brain to be removed completely, so it remains a cause of concern for NFL teams.

Quinn, however, is not concerned. He takes a CT scan every six months now and finds himself "falling asleep" each inside the chamber when asked to do so. He also claims that he hasn't had a headache "since high school [following the surgery]," as well.

The other concern with Quinn, of course, is the fact that he, along with defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little, was suspended for the entire 2010 season.

Scouts relayed to me that the UNC staff had told them Quinn was "supposed to be a very good kid" but some questioned whether the fact that Quinn is still viewed as a top prospect despite the suspension made him less concerned about the impact his suspension had on the Tar Heels' disappointing 2010 season.

Quinn seemed surprised when asked if he cared about his suspension.

"I definitely cared," he said. "Watching the whole season, especially when UNC played LSU and I went down to support them, seeing our guys run on to the field, in the middle of the game I was about in tears in the stands. I made a selfish mistake and couldn't be out there..."

Posted on: February 26, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Bowers missing opportunity by not working out

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers will not win himself fans among scouts with his decision to not work out at the Combine despite the fact that he characterized himself as "100%" and "willing to compete with anyone, any where" in his Q/A session with the media.

Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscsus in his right knee following the season and explained that he "wanted as much time to prepare for [the workouts] as others."

The reality is that despite leading the country with 15.5 sacks, scouts have questions about Bowers' burst.

Bowers benefitted from an aggressive Clemson defensive scheme which often utilized twists and stunts, freeing him up to rack up sacks while his defensive tackles absorbed blockers. Bowers, himself, acknowledged the play of his teammates who "did all of the dirty work."

By not working out here, Bowers risks losing some of the buzz his monster junior season had created. North Carolina's Robert Quinn and Missouri's Aldon Smith, in particular, are expected to work out exceptionally well and have each demonstrated a greater first step as pass rusher than Bowers.

Bowers' Pro Day is March 10.

Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:41 am
 

Did John Fox leak Broncos plan for No. 2 overall?

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox may have unintentionally leaked the direction his team will be going with the No. 2 overall pick.

The Broncos need help on the defensive line. Ranking dead last in the NFL in total defense, including 31st against the run will do that to a club. The team is also transitioning back to a 4-3 defense.

Fox sound excited about the impending healthy return of pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. He twice cited the fact that Dumervil "had 17 sacks" and erased any doubt that Dumervil would be returning back to defensive end, as he had played prior to former head coach Josh McDaniels' switching the Broncos to a 3-4 defense.

The surprise came moments later when he described his feelings about Broncos' 2009 first round pick Robert Ayers, a defensive end at the University of Tennessee, who struggled the past two seasons as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Fox, when asked what he thought of Ayers and how he fit in with his defensive scheme, "I saw him [Ayers] as a 4-3 defensive end. We've got him penciled in as a defensive end. I have the utmost confidence that he'll be a productive player for us this season."

If Fox does, indeed, have the "utmost confidence" in Ayers and is comfortable with Dumervil's return after a torn pectoral muscle sidelined him all of last year, the Broncos will likely be looking at defensive tackle with the No. 2 overall pick rather than defensive end Da'Quan Bowers from Clemson or Robert Quinn from North Carolina.

Fox wouldn't go into specifics about this year's defensive tackle group, but seemed less than enthusiastic about his team's current defensive tackles.

Auburn's Nick Fairley and Alabama's Marcell Dareus are considered by most scouts to be top five prospects. Both have the size and physicality to be an immediate upgrade inside for the Broncos.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Who'll Run Fastest? My position by position take

As I've noted previously, the most important element of the Scouting Combine to NFL teams lies with the medical testing and interviews.

The most entertaining part of the Combine, however, is of course, the athletic drills. The 40-yard dash, in particularly, has taken on a life of its own as the Combine's preeminent drill.

Ask five NFL scouts to predict who will be the fastest player in Indianapolis this year and you might get five different names. Rather than just identify one or five prospects who could turn in blazing times, I thought I'd give you my pick for each position.

Disagree? Perhaps in the greatest example of how big the NFL Combine has become, you can literally put your money where your mouth is and make prop bets through Bodog.com.

I didn't make any bets. If I had, these would have been my picks.

QB: Jake Locker, Washington -- I'm picking a bit of an upset from the start. Cam Newton is considered the favorite by most to the fastest and perhaps he'll prove he is. I expect each of them to run in the 4.5 range.

RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech -- It is too bad that Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones is still recovering from a broken bone, as I would have loved to have picked the D-II star to shock the world here. The world will have to wait for his Pro Day. If Williams runs the 4.4 or better time I expect, he could make a push for the late first round, just like former Cal star Jahvid Best did last year.

WR: Ricardo Lockett, Fort Valley State -- Despite the fact that he's a D-II prospect, Lockett's explosive speed at 6-3, 212 pounds makes him a well known commodity to many scouts. Lockette has publicly said he hopes to challenge Chris Johnson's 4.24 second time from 2008. Abilene Christian's Edmund Gates, Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, Boise State's Titus Young and Maryland's Torrey Smith can also fly, making wide receiver the year's most competitive group.

TE: Virgil Green, Nevada -- If anyone might have wondered why the Wolfpack lost only one game last year, you can point to the spectacular athleticism of Green, OLB Moch and, of course, QB Colin Kaepernick. Green could wind up in the 4.5s at 6-4 and 250 pounds.

OL: Nate Solder, Colorado -- USC's Tyron Smith is a spectacular athlete, but so too is Solder. There are some who believe he'll produce results similar to the ones that pushed former Central Michigan star Joe Staley into the first round. Staley was credited with a 4.78 second time in the 40 at 6-6, 306 pounds.

DL: Robert Quinn, North Carolina -- With nearly a full year to prepare for these workouts, as well as jaw-dropping athleticism to begin with, Quinn is going to be impressive. Perhaps that's why I listed him as my No. 5 overall prospect in the 2011 draft and have argued for months that he's a more explosive pass rusher than Da'Quan Bowers.

LB: Dontay Moch, Nevada -- Moch stunned scouts last spring when he was clocked in at 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. I'm not so sure he can match that time on Indianapolis' notoriously slow track, but he should lap the field in a relatively weak year for linebackers.

CB: Demarcus Van Dyke, Miami -- LSU's Patrick Peterson told the media that his goal in the 40-yard dash was in the 4.2s. Van Dyke might actually accomplish this rare feat.

S: Rahim Moore, UCLA -- I'm not as high on Moore as many are, but there is no denying his pure athleticism. He could be one of the few safeties in this class that can break the 4.50 mark.

Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:00 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- WR Greg Little

Up until the beginning of the NFL Combine Thursday, I'm going to list one player per position who I see as having the most riding on their performance. That means multiple updates each day, so keep tuning in.

You'll see a couple of overriding themes with the players I select. Many are underclassmen - as many of them have more to prove to scouts - and many are players with either off-field or medical concerns. This was the case with my quarterback of choice, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett , but not the case with senior running back Alex Green of Hawaii .

North Carolina wideout Greg Little is not an underclassmen, but, after being suspended for his entire senior season, his 2009 tape is the last scouts have seen of him.

As three NFL scouts told me last week, Little has a lot riding on his performance both on and off the "field" this week at the Combine. He looked like a prospect who was ready to come into his own as the 2009 season ended. In his final game as a Tar Heel, Little caught seven passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns against Pitt in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He also rushed once for another 31 yards. Little performance stole the spotlight from the Panthers' big play receiver Jon Baldwin, who was limited to only three catches for 31 yards in the game.

The 6-2, 220 pound former running back demonstrated rare body control and sticky hands in that contest. His vision, agility, power and acceleration after the catch make him one of the more intriguing YAC receivers in this draft.

Pure speed is a significant concern for Little, however, and considering his suspension, so to are character questions. If Little is able to run in the mid to low 4.5s or faster, he'll boost his stock with teams -- at least athletically. Most important to his final draft standing, Little will need to be open and honest about his role in the UNC scandal.

This year's receiver crop features a lot of talent expected to be drafted in the 2nd-4th rounds. At present time, NFLDraftScout.com rates Little as a 3rd-4th round pick and the 13th best receiver. With a strong performance in drills and interviews, Little could push himself as high as the late second round.

Little, like Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn, has had a lot of time to prepare for the Combine. Scouts won't be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he isn't prepared and suffers through a poor showing in drills, interviews or both -- and Little could see his stock plummet into the final two rounds of the draft.
Posted on: February 13, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Interviews most underrated component of Combine

The workouts get all of the attention and savvy NFL draft followers know that the medical grades are actually the most important part of the Combine.

One critical piece of the Combine pie that gets very little exposure is the player interview process.

In the past, the interviews teams get with players have only earned attention when something bizarre occurs -- like last year when the Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asked then-Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant about his mother's ... uhhh... profession.

In reality, however, this is an integral part of the Combine.

Teams are attempting to learn through a 15 minute interview if the young man sitting opposite them is one of the rare individuals who will actually work harder after signing a multi-million dollar contract.

When I visited Athletes Performance for an article two years ago on the process high-ranking athletes go through in Combine preparation, everyone there was willing to talk about the revolutionary techniques in exercise, nutrition and rehabilitation. Few, however, talk about the significant coaching that players go through to prepare for interviews.

Based on polling various scouts throughout the league, here are 15 high profile players who have as much riding on their interviews with teams as they do the other more hyped components of the Combine.

Players are listed alphabetically.
  • Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
  • Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
  • Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  • A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
  • Jake Locker, QB, Washington
  • Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  • Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  • Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
  • Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
  • Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
  • Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  • Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
  • Titus Young, WR, Boise State


Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Prospects boycotting Combine, Draft senseless

Reportedly among the latest threats by agents and the NFLPA is that incoming 2011 draft propsects may elect not to show up at this month's Scouting Combine or the 2011 draft, itself. 
Quite frankly, I see very little chance of this happening.

Certainly, if prospects elected not to show up at the Combine, it would cause problems for NFL teams -- which is, of course, the point.

While the vast majority of the Combine coverage revolves around who runs the fastest or puts up the most repetitions of 225 pounds, for NFL teams the two most critical elements of the annual Indianapolis trip are the extensive medical testing and the face to face interviews with prospects.

If prospects did not attend the Combine, there is no doubt that it would disrupt teams' preparation. In doing so, it would make the million dollar gambles that each team was making with their owners' money even riskier. I get it.

But who has more to lose in this situation?

The prospects who elected not to come to Indianapolis would be perceived by teams as selfish, mindless drones following the orders of agents and current NFL players -- not the eager-to-please (and get paid to play) prospects that they actually are.

And let's be clear about which of the prospects have the most to lose. It clearly would be the underclassmen. It is especially important for the juniors and redshirt sophomores to attend the Combine as in many cases this is the first time NFL decision-makers have had an opportunity to meet these players. Considering that there are a record 57 underclassmen this year -- with many of them rating as 1st and 2nd round talent -- they typically have the most to gain (or lose) that week. Can you imagine trying to convince a Da'Quan Bowers or Patrick Peterson -- each with a legitimate chance at being the first pick of the draft -- to skip the Combine, entirely? Or what about players like fighting so-called "intangibles" red-flags like Nick Fairley, Ryan Mallett or Robert Quinn? Do you think they'd be eager to waste their greatest opportunity to convince teams that all of the reports of their laziness, poor leadership or reasons for their year-long suspension, respectively, are hogwash?

Sure, teams send their power contingents to invidual player and collegiate Pro Days when prospects don't work out at the Combine, but  if a collective group of prospects boycotted the Combine, rather than a few scouts, coaches or front office executives flying in to watch a prospect test athletically, time+money+travel would have to be set aside for medical testing, Wonderlic testing, interviews, etc.

It would be a logistical nightmare for all with flawed results.

Put bluntly, if the players don't show up at the Combine, they (or their agents) are idiots.

Now, the draft itself, is a different story. NFL teams aren't likely to change their draft board based on whether or not a player is shown on television in the green room as opposed to their parents' living room, after all.

Any leverage the prospects could gain for the NFLPA would likely be in the lost television ratings the networks, league and thus, team owners would receive from the draft's coverage.

But, let's be honest? Do you watch the draft because of the riveting interviews conducted before and after a player is drafted?

Or is it because you want to see who your favorite team picked? They would be making a pick, after all, regardless of which players (if any) were actually attending the draft.

I'm very much on the side of the NFLPA on many of the key issues, but on this particular front, I see very, very little to gain and much to lose. Expect to see the players (all of them) at the Combine. Don't be surprised at all if they show up to Radio City Music Hall, as well.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 1:33 pm
 

NFL officially recognizes 56 underclassmen

The NFL just released the names of the 56 underclassmen granted special eligibility to join the senior class in the player pool for the 2011 draft.

Three North Carolina players who were suspended for the entire 2010 season are included on the list. One other player who had not previously been mentioned as having declared early is Oregon defensive back Javes Lewis, a part-time starter for the Ducks who isn't likely to be drafted. 

The list of alphabetized names is provided below.

  • Adams, Darvin, WR,  Auburn
  • Austin, Marvin, DT. North Carolina
  • Ayers, Akeem , OLB, UCLA
  • Baldwin, Jon, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Bowers, Da'Quan, DE, Clemson
  • Brown, DeAndre, WR, Southern Mississippi
  • Burton, Brandon, DB, Utah
  • Casey, Jurrell, DT, Southern California
  • Clay, John, RB, Wisconsin
  • Claytor, Nick, T, Georgia Tech
  • Cobb, Randall, WR, Kentucky
  • Dareus, Marcell, DE, Alabama
  • Doss, Tandon, WR, Indiana
  • Evans, Darren, RB, Virginia Tech
  • Fairley, Nick, DT, Auburn
  • Gabbert, Blaine, QB, Missouri
  • Green, A.J., WR. Georgia
  • Gurley, Tori, WR, South Carolina
  • Guy, Lawrence, DT, Arizona State
  • Hamler, Jamel, WR, Fresno State
  • Harper, Jamie, RB, Clemson
  • Harris, Brandon, DB, Miami  
  • Hill, Will, DB, Florida
  • Houston, Justin, LB, Georgia
  • Hynoski, Henry, RB, Pittsburgh
  • Ingram, Mark, RB, Alabama
  • Jones, Julio, WR, Alabama
  • Keiser, Thomas, LB, Stanford
  • Leshoure, Mikel, RB, Illinois
  • Lewis, Dion, RB, Pittsburgh
  • Lewis, Javes, DB, Oregon
  • Little, Greg, WR, North Carolina
  • Liuget, Corey, DT, Illinois
  • Mallett, Ryan, QB, Arkansas
  • Moore, Rahim, DB, UCLA
  • Newton, Cam, QB, Auburn
  • Parr, Zane, DE, Virginia
  • Peterson, Patrick, DB, Louisiana State
  • Quinn, Robert, DE, North Carolina
  • Ridley, Stevan, RB, Louisiana State
  • Rodgers, Jacquizz, RB, Oregon State
  • Rudolph, Kyle, TE, Notre Dame
  • Sands, Robert, DB, West Virginia
  • Sash, Tyler, DB, Iowa
  • Siliga, Sealver, DT, Utah
  • Smith, Aldon, DE, Missouri
  • Smith, Torrey, WR, Maryland  
  • Smith, Tyron, T, Southern California  
  • Tarrant, Jerrard, DB, Georgia Tech
  • Todman, Jordan, RB, Connecticut
  • Vereen, Shane, RB, California
  • Watt, J.J., DE, Wisconsin
  • Wilkerson, Muhammad, DT, Temple
  • Williams, Aaron, DB, Texas
  • Williams, Ryan, RB, Virginia Tech
  • Wilson, Martez, LB, Illinois
 
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com