Correctly gauging a player’s prospects for their sophomore campaign can be a difficult task. The learning curve from the college level to the NFL is often a steep one for many rookies, so their first season may not be an accurate representation of their fantasy potential. Position changes, limited playing time, or even player lockouts can impact a player’s performance in their rookie season. In the Sophomore Spotlight series, we take all of these dynamics into account and dig deep through the data in order to predict a player’s potential for their second season.
Robert Quinn is in an interesting situation entering his second season. With tremendous potential as the 14th overall pick in 2011, Quinn showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, but struggled to consistently make his presence felt. He finished the season with 13 solo tackles, six sacks, and 36 total QB pressures. Although he defended the run poorly, grading out at -7.3, Quinn demonstrated that he has the ability to get after quarterbacks with a +2.6 pass rush grade. Quinn currently ranks as a DE20 in our IDP ADP rankings; however, his youth and potential make him a greater asset in dynasty leagues, where he is currently ranked as the 18th DE in our IDP Dynasty Rankings. He looks to be a DE3 in 2012, but certainly could be a solid DE2 by year’s end.
The Rams’ off-season transactions will also work to the benefit of Quinn, but I‘m not just referring to the arrivals. The departure of James Hall has undoubtedly paved the way for Quinn to become a full time starter at defensive end. Last season Quinn participated in 584 total defensive snaps, 341 of which were pass rushing situations. James Hall, on the other hand, participated in 737 total snaps, of which 388 were in pass rushing situations. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that Hall’s departure will directly result in Quinn seeing more snaps, thus more opportunities to make plays - obviously increasing his fantasy value.
The Rams have, however, made several defensive additions that will also have a positive impact on Quinn, as well as the team in general. In signing Cortland Finnegan, the Rams have acquired PFF’s 6th highest graded cornerback in coverage (+9.6). They also used a second round pick on cornerback Janoris Jenkins who, has loads of talent to offer and has now signed a contract. This boost in coverage will allow Quinn and other pass rushers additional time to get to the quarterback. Furthermore, the Rams selected defensive tackle Michael Brockers with their first round pick, helping to solidify their defensive line and take some pressure off the ends.
While some first round picks were studs from the moment they stepped on the field, most take time to develop. Consequently, Rams’ fans and those who draft Quinn in their IDP leagues should not be alarmed by his relatively slow start. Remember, Jason Pierre-Paul had a rather mediocre rookie season himself, before exploding onto the scene in his second year. Here’s a chart to compare the two players’ rookie season (I’m not saying that Quinn will have a sophomore season like JPP, but it’s interesting nonetheless):
|Quinn vs. JPP Rookie Season|
|Pass Rush Grade||+2.6||+2.7|
(It’s also worth noting that Pierre-Paul’s QB Pressure Frequency in 2011 was 10.0% – lower than Quinn’s rookie number.)
You could certainly get away with drafting Quinn a bit higher than his current ADP (188th overall) but I wouldn’t get too crazy with it, unless of course you’re in a dynasty league. Regardless, he is certainly a player to keep on your radar and if he gets off to a hot start in 2012 he will be a commodity.
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