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Senior NFL Columnist

Robert Quinn on Jadeveon Clowney: Don't put any loafs out there

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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The screen on the little laptop in front of Robert Quinn came to life. We watched as South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney terrorized college passers and chased down runners.

I've brought the Clowney tape here with me to the St. Louis Rams facility to show Quinn, the Rams' 23-year-old star defensive end, and let him offer his thoughts as Clowney readies to enter the NFL. Even though Quinn is just a couple of years older than the 21-year-old Clowney, he has three years of NFL service and he's coming off his breakout 19-sack season that should have earned him NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors (he got my vote).

So as he waits for Clowney to join him in a league where terrorizing quarterbacks is more of a premium than ever, I wanted to hear what Quinn thought of Clowney's moves. Clowney, after all, is already being compared to Lawrence Taylor, arguably the greatest defensive player of all time, and he still hasn't been drafted yet.

As we watched Clowney on the screen in front of us, you could tell Quinn was impressed. One play showed Clowney beating a tackle and a back, and then running down the quarterback as he scrambled out of the pocket.

Jadeveon Clowney wowed scouts with an impressive combine performance.
Jadeveon Clowney wowed scouts with an impressive combine performance. (USATSI)

"He's closing the gap down really fast," Quinn said in pass-rusher-speak.

Translation: He can move.

After watching a few more Clowney plays, Quinn offered his assessment.

"He's the prototype defensive end," Quinn said. "He's 6-6, 6-7, 265 pounds, athletic and has speed. He has it all. He has the potential to become a great player. Only time will tell."

He also offered some advice.

"He shows some great flashes as a young player, but no loaf plays," Quinn said. "If you are tired, come off the field. Send somebody else in. Don't put any loafs out there."

Clowney's reputation is that of a guy who took some plays off, and Rams coaches thought Quinn didn't always plays as hard as he should in his first season in the league. It's something Quinn hinted at several times in my time here with him.

"Be able to tell yourself you are tired," Quinn said. "That's me personally."

Quinn also had some older brother-type advice for Clowney.

"It sounds cliché', but stay out of trouble," Quinn said. "Make sure you hang around the right guys. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience [getting drafted]. Keep your head together. Don't let the game rattle you."

While Quinn welcomes a fellow pass rusher, he isn't about to concede that Clowney will be the better pro. I asked him who he thought was the better pass rusher down the road.

"Should I answer that?" he said.

"Yes," I said.

"You're looking at him," Quinn said. "I already have a few years on him. He has all the potential in the world to be a dominant pass rusher. Between us, I will take me 100 out of a 100 times."

Let the race begin.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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