The Eagles thought that they had solidified the left defensive end position when they moved up in last year’s draft to the 13th pick to select Brandon Graham out of Michigan. However, with inconsistent play and a late season knee injury, the Eagles once again find themselves in a similar position; finding a defensive end to compliment Trent Cole.
Juqua Parker and Darryl Tapp stepped in nicely throughout the season, but both worn down as the season progressed. Brandon Graham is a high motor player, but he lacks the size to be a contributor on running plays. I expect the Eagles to address the defensive end position at some point in the draft and a potential player that could fit the mold is DE Robert Quinn from North Carolina.
Robert Quinn is one of the more interesting players in the draft this season. Quinn has all of the talent in the world, but teams may be turned off because of his character issues. Quinn showed desire and heart as he battled back from brain surgery during his senior season in high school. However, with the good comes the bad and just last season Quinn was suspended for all of the 2010 for allegedly accepting illegal benefits and then lying to investigators. This resulted in a permanent suspension from college football and this will likely hurt his draft stock.
Let’s take a look at Quinn’s physical abilities:
Robert Quinn has the athletic ability to be an absolute nightmare for QBs in the NFL. He can use his speed rush to get around the tackle or he can use his agility and strength to go inside and collapse the pocket. Quinn has an outstanding burst off of the ball, but he can become lackadaisical on occasion. Quinn has a knack for causing turnovers, but one cause for concern is that he tackles too high. Overall, Quinn is a solid pass rusher, but he will need to bulk up and work on his technique in order to blossom in the NFL.
Although Quinn lacks some size and strength, he uses his body and arms well to leverage himself against offensive lineman. Quinn does an excellent job of staying home and not allowing the opposing team to cutback. He is able to cover up his size issues by using his quickness and burst off of the snap. If Quinn wants to be an every-down player, he will have to hit the weight room and learn to take on opposing lineman on a more consistent basis.
In my opinion the comparisons to Mario Williams and Julius Peppers are a bit much, but the upside is certainly there as he has the ability to become a real game changer. The Eagles will more than likely have to trade up the top 15 to draft Quinn, which seems unlikely at the time because of other pressing needs on the team.
Check out some highlights of Quinn in college by clicking here.