AnalysisRollins is one of the storylines of this draft. He played basketball at Miami (Ohio) before converting to the game of football in 2014. Now he finds himself on the cusp of being one of the top cornerbacks drafted. In fact, some believe he could fall in the later stages of the first round. That’s truly amazing if you think about it. Would you believe Rollins had seven interceptions in his only season on the gridiron last fall? He has good size, length and is very smooth on the field. Rollins hasn’t scratched the surface yet of what he could become.
Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation
Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:
The Packers address their secondary again with an intriguing prospect in Quinten Rollins. He played basketball at Miami (Ohio) before converting to the game of football in 2014. Now he finds himself on the cusp of being one of the top cornerbacks drafted. In fact, some believe he could fall in the later stages of the first round. That’s truly amazing if you think about it. Would you believe Rollins had seven interceptions in his only season on the gridiron last fall? He has good size, length and is very smooth on the field. Rollins hasn’t scratched the surface yet of what he could become.
Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:Hollywood might call Quinten Rollins one day to do his life story, but until then he should expect a very early call from some NFL team in late April as a coveted cornerback. Just looking to continue his education at the university after a four-year career with the RedHawks basketball team, Rollins was also recruited by that school to play football but never stepped on to the gridiron until he concluded playing hoops.
Rollins finished his basketball career ranked second at Miami and 12th among Mid-American Conference career leaders in steals (214), becoming one of only 15 players in MAC history to reach 200 steals. He ranks fourth at Miami in career assists (391), seventh in games started (106) and ninth in minutes played (3,448), having played in 116 games. He is the only player in Miami history to twice record seven steals in a game and owns four of the top six single-game steal marks at Miami-Ohio.
Nobody on the coaching staff knew what they would get when Rollins first walked into the football office prior to the start of 2014 spring camp looking for an opportunity to suit up. He would go on to lead the league and rank third in the nation with seven interceptions, also breaking up nine passes. He finished fourth on the team with 72 tackles, making four stops-for-loss while also causing one fumble.
For that performance, he received MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors and garnered first-team All-American accolades from The NFL Draft Report. Do not let this football neophyte’s lack of experience fool you – if you look at the updated rankings on Scout.com, he is rated among the draft’s elite cornerback prospects for a reason.
Considering that Rollins has played just one season of college football and was a high school running back, he showed that he could be a physical tackler who shows aggression taking on contact, and even though he played in the second/third level he showed urgency moving down the line to tackle. He’s also physical in coverage, doing a nice job of reading the receiver’s eyes. That ability allowed him to gain the success he had going up and knocking the ball away with his back to the play.
Rollins demonstrated good confidence in jump-ball situations (attained four of his pass thefts from jump-ball battles) and can hold up physically one-on-one on the outside. His basketball skills and overall flexibility show that he has the natural balance and footwork in coverage, along with demonstrating the ability to quickly get his feet under him and then click and close on the ball. Rollins has very good closing speed, along with generating functional power as a tackler when asked to drive on a receiver after the catch. He wraps up and finishes well, along with doing a nice job of turning and running with receivers downfield. He possesses good (not great) straight-line speed and uses his length and explosive leaping ability to high-point the ball.
Rollins still needs some technique work, as he is not yet technically sound when it comes to his drop. He has a tendency to open up his hips too early in his backpedal, and due to inexperience he had to rely more on his athleticism to run with receivers from the trail technique. He appeared to be more comfortable when playing with inside leverage and take a side to ride the receiver on his way down field. He does have a crisp and quick closing burst but will need to work on his footwork, as he is not yet sharp in his attempts to get out of his breaks and undercut routes.
There are times when Rollins will round off his breaks or gather himself, but he’s a valid, physical player who can tackle in the secondary, close on the ball and run with most of the speedy receivers down field. He has the upside to develop into a good starting cornerback, reminding me of a “young puppy” at Louisiana-Lafayette more than a decade ago with just one year of defensive back experience – Pittsburgh’s Ike Taylor.
Rollins is the first to admit that he is still developing the quick thinking process to recognize routes and diagnose whether the receiver is the primary read by anticipating the opponent’s body language. Still, his interception success came from being alert to swing passes in the flat in zone coverage.
He improved throughout the season and during 2015 Senior Bowl practices Rollins was quick to read receiver screens, avoid the block and close to make the play near or behind the line. There were times he was a step slow attacking in his zone or to chase plays, but that can be easily corrected once he feels more comfortable taking proper angles to the ball.
Playing one-on-one with the receiver, Rollins has the size and hand skills to be a physical press coverage defender. His basketball skills are evident with his smooth hip transition from his backpedal, but he is best in press coverage, as he became comfortable in using his length and size to neutralize the receiver. He just needs to be more consistent getting his hands on his opponent before the receiver can get a release off the line.
Rollins does a nice job for keeping contact with the receiver down field to prevent any sort of separation. He has the length and leaping ability to win jump ball battles, and as his interception rate increased he forced quarterbacks to look in other directions. His lone issue in man coverage is footwork, as he can lose his balance and footing on double moves. While he has the ability to be physical, he needs to be more disciplined in this area to prevent costly penalties.
With 16 passes defended, it is safe to say that Rollins has excellent hands. He’s a ball-hawk in coverage and, along with his snatching ability, he is quick to find the ball thrown over his shoulder, especially when covering on vertical and fade routes. He won’t intercept every pass that hits his hands (four of his breakups appeared to be easy thefts), but he gets good hand placement defending the ball. He’s also become very aggressive at challenging for the sphere at its high point. It will be interesting to see if some NFL team tries to capitalize on his hands by using him on punt and kickoff returns.
Quinten Rollins Scouting Combine measurables
5-11/195 (4.67 forty)
30 1/4-inch arm length
14-reps bench 36 1/2-inch vertical jump
10-foot-2 broad jump
7.10 3-cone drill (right calf strain)
4.28 20-yard shuttle
11.53 60-yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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