NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
The Green Bay game this past Sunday was an eye opener. I tweeted after the game that the inability of the Patriots to draft/develop corners could be their Achilles heal. The list of names that the Patriots have drafted with high picks in the secondary that have not worked out is too long to list here. Revis and Browner have played well and Arrington does fine in the slot, but the others have really struggled. If Revis leaves after this season, there will be a huge hole to fill at the corner position, so I decided to look at one of the lesser known names that could rise up draft boards fast with a good all-star game and combine.
Name: Quinten Rollins
School: Miami (OH), senior
Weight: 205 lbs.
At 6’0″, Rollins has nice size and frame for the position. A natural athlete, he played basketball (point guard) for Miami before switching over to football for his senior campaign and his time on the court shows in his smooth movements. Rollins shows good balance in his back pedal and an ability to turn his hips and run without losing speed or momentum. He has very good hands and anticipates pass routes well, which is why he is currently tied for 3rd in the nation with 7 interceptions. He also boasts good straight line speed as well as explosiveness in his lower body in and out of cuts. During certain games, Rollins looked like he was running the offensive routes rather than defending them. He is also one of the better tacklers that I’ve watched so far from the corner position. He has good tackling fundamentals and for the most part is willing to come up and put a hit on opposing players.
With only one year of football experience, Rollins is very raw and relies on his athleticism over fundamentals to make plays. He peeks into the backfield a little too much, which can lead him to lose track of the man that he is supposed to be covering. In the game against Michigan, Rollins struggled with double moves and seemed to get turned around several times. He lacks consistency in his tackling and covering efforts and looked almost bored at times. He also tends to bail out of his backpedal early and open his hips to run with receivers.
This cannot be stressed enough, but Rollins has only played one year of college ball. He is raw and has some issues to work out, but they are all correctable. His smooth movements, athleticism, ball skills, and tackling are better than some of the top cornerback prospects that have played for 3 or 4 years. Teams will need to be patient with him as he most likely won’t start day one, but he can certainly be a contributor in year one. With good coaching and his natural talent, he has potential to be a very good to great corner in the NFL. Because Rollins played in a smaller conference and is raw, I think it is likely that he will be drafted early on day 3 but his talent and potential could push him up into late day 2.