North Carolina Junior
Has a good first step with the speed to beat tackle on the edge. Uses his hands and has a nice rip move to get under the tackle. Turns the corner, and then closes on the quarterback to deliver the big hit. Athletic, and able to make plays in space. Does a nice job breaking down and wrapping up, and delivers some pop as a tackler. Shows ability to get vertical to break up the pass. Has good speed and range when playing in pursuit. Can shoot upfield and make the stop in the backfield. Can use his long arms to get extension and get leverage at the point of attack. Plays with a good motor and it can be relentless when he smells blood.
Tends to overly rely on his speed to get outside the tackle. Can lose outside contain by either biting on the play fake or shooting inside to try and get penetration. Doesn't do a great job getting off blocks at the point of attack, and can get engulfed when you run right at him. Did not show production against quality opponents.
Quinn has the prototype tools to be an elite rush end or rush linebacker at the next level. He has the ideal frame, long arms, coupled with athleticism, strength, and motor to be a dynamic pass rusher. He is coming off a year where he was suspended for accepting payments from agents (reportedly around $5,600). As a true freshman, he became a starter due to an injury in Week 2 and finished year with 34 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Broke out as a sophomore with 52 tackles, 19 for loss, 11 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles. He lined up predominantly at right end every snap at Carolina. Really dominated in games vs. ECU, Virginia, and Duke, where he combined for 18 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks tackles for loss. In the 5 games against the left tackles that are already in the pros or soon will be (FSU's Andrew Datko, Virginia Tech's Ed Wang, Miami's Jason Fox, BC's Anthony Castonzo, and PItt's Jason Pinkston), he combined for a total of 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. He was diagnosed with an inoperable benign brain tumor as a senior in high school, but obviously it has not affected his ability to play.
I'm not sure how big an issue the brain tumor is. I'm no neurosurgeon, so that would have to be a decision that team doctors would have to make, but judging from how he's played on the field, I don't think it's a big issue going forward. Quinn has the potential to be an elite pass rusher at the next level, able to give guys like DeMarcus Ware or Dwight Freeney a run for their money. He needs work, but I think he's a guy that can impact by his second or third season. His rookie year might be a wash just from the lay-off he's had from the league. His physical tools present a potential matchup nightmare for the top left tackles, but he's going to have to work on his technique if he's going to want to be a top defensive end. His lack of ideal technique won't be as big an issue at least not immediately if he's playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, and so he might be able to impact more qulckly as a pass rusher in that scheme. But he doesn't have much experience playing with his hand off the ground and has very little experience working in coverage. But playing in a scheme like Ware does in Dallas, which limits that, he should be fine. The fact that he didn't produce against premium competition in the ACC is concerning. But I think it's more due to him being raw than anything. But because of it, there is some boom/bust potential. But I don't think he's going to be a true "bust." Most of the recent busts of his ilk (Gaines Adams & Vernon Gholston) were so because they had questionable motors. I don't really have questions about his motor. Off-field character might be an issue, but the way he plays on the field there isn't a lack of effort. And the NCAA suspension isn't a major ding in my eyes. And it should be noted that while Adams was a disappointment in Tampa Bay, he did have 13.5 sacks in 37 games there. So if Quinn is a disappointment, i think it will be like that where he is a guy that gets 4-6 sacks instead of the potential 10-15 that he's capable of. He's too talented to not be a competent NFL player. So for me, worst case scenario if you draft him is you get a defensive end like Will Smith or linebacker like Kamerion Wimbley who are good starters, but aren't consistent impact players on a weekly basis. Best case scenario is that guys like Freeney and Ware are looking over their shoulders for the title of top pass rushers in the league.
Quinn has elite potential in Atlanta, and having at least a year of tutelage under Abraham should do him wonders. While he may not contribute a ton as a rookie due to the lay-off, he can help out in the rotation as a situational pass rusher and probably give the team at least 15-20 snaps a game. If he's rusty, he might wind up with only 1-2 sacks as a rookie. But he has the potential that if he's raring to go, he could get 4-6 right off the bat. He's talented enough that he can assume Abraham's starting spot at right end in 2012, even if his production in 2011 doesn't merit it. And with a full year as a starter under his belt, he should start to emerge as a double-digit sack artist and primetime pass rusher in 2013 at the latest. Again, worst case scenario is that he's a guy that only gets 6-8 sacks in Atlanta as opposed to double digits. But he has the type of potential that he could be up there with Matt Ryan and Roddy White as the team's franchise players, and the caliber of impact pass rusher and building block defensively that could significantly swing the advantage of NFC dominance in the Falcons favor, much like Freeney was for the Colts in 2002 and thereafter.
Quinn could be considered the best player in this draft based off his potential. And while I don't consider the brain tumor, suspension, and lacking production against quality competition to be major red flags, they are significant enough red flags that could make him a better value between picks 5-10 rather than in the Top 3 like he's capable of being.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Rush: 4.5
Point Of Attack: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.