Kelcy Quarles – Defensive Tackle – South Carolina
Quarles plays defensive tackle in South Carolina’s four-man front. He will line up on the nose and also at as a one, two, or three-technique. The way the South Carolina defense is set up, the defensive linemen play in a rotation to stay fresh. What jumps out at me about Quarles is his sack production. Quarles is an inside guy, yet led South Carolina in sacks. Jadeveon Clowney is said to be the top D-Linemen in the country, yet he finished the season with only three sacks, Quarles had 9.5. That is a huge number for an inside player.
Quarles has good size at about 6040 – 300. He is thick and well-built for a D- Linemen and has the frame to carry 310 – 315 when in the NFL. He has good straight-line quickness and speed. I think he will time in the 4.95 – 5.05 range at the Combine. A concern I have is, he is a bit tight in his knees and can have a tendency to play straight-legged. Because of this, his lateral movement isn’t as good as it could be. At times, he will have trouble clearing piles when moving laterally. That being said, he is still a force at the line of scrimmage. He has good snap reaction and initial quickness. With his long arms, he can control blockers and he shows he can shed quickly. One person close to Quarles referred to him as being “country strong”, and that is a great description. Though he can get tall he does an excellent job holding the point. You almost never see him give ground to blockers and does a very good job versus double team blocks.
Quarles plays hard and competes. He has good awareness and can find the ball. He can be a force versus the run and his 13.5 tackles for loss attest to that. While he isn’t a great athlete, he makes a lot of plays including some “wow” plays. I like that he makes pursuit plays. He has some range and goes all out chasing the ball.
As a pass rusher, he is a bull rusher first but he can also put together some counter moves. He has a good burst coming off blocks to the QB.
Quarles can play a variety of positions at the next level. I see him mainly as an inside player in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. While he doesn’t have great nose tackle size, his strength and power more than make up for it. With his long arms and two-gap ability he could also play as a five-technique. I can see him being drafted in the later part of the first round or early in the second. He can start for many clubs as a rookie.