NFL Draft Preview 2015: CB Quinten Rollins

The Sports Quotient’s annual NFL Draft Preview series has returned. Each week, we will analyze the top NFL prospects at each position. This week, the focus is on cornerbacks. Today’s prospect is Quinten Rollins, out of Miami (OH) University.

College Career

Prior to the 2014 season, Quentin Rollins was known more for his play on the hardwood than on the gridiron. He started at point guard for the Redhawks basketball team for four seasons and was a key contributor throughout his career. Rollins decided to play football as a fifth year senior, after not playing football since his senior year of high school in 2009. His success after such a considerable layoff was extremely impressive. Rollins tied for third in the nation with seven interceptions and was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. 


The quality that separates Rollins from the rest of the pack is his excellent ball-handling skills, evidenced by his seven interceptions in 2014. His experience handling the ball as a point guard certainly helped his development in this area. 

He has good size for the cornerback position, at 5’11” – 195 pounds, and he is a willing tackler and does not shy away from contact. The fact that Rollins was so successful after not playing football for over four years will entice many teams, with the idea being that he is only scratching the surface of his potential. Rollins’s ceiling is very high.


Many scouts doubted his long speed prior to the combine, and his 4.57 second 40-yard dash time is not going to alleviate any of these concerns. Rollins’s lack of experience playing football at an elite level is also a big question mark, and even when he did play collegiately, he was not playing in a Power 5 conference against top-flight competition.

Draft Grade

Rollins certainly has his flaws, but his upside will make him an attractive mid-round prospect come draft day. Currently, I have him ranked as the #8 corner and have him slotted in the middle of the 3rd round.

Mike Mayock, my personal favorite draft analyst, believes Rollins will go higher than many people think, and I tend to agree. After the first tier of cornerback prospects is off the board (Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, Jalen Collins, Kevin Johnson, among others), many teams will take a long look at Rollins because of his untapped potential. 

Best Fit

Rollins does not have elite long speed and shouldn’t be left on an island without safety help. However, he would be a great fit in a system that allows him to be aggressive on short, intermediate routes and fully utilize his outstanding ball-handling skills. 

The San Diego Chargers would be a nice landing spot for Rollins with the 83rd-overall pick (3rd round). They have Eric Weddle at safety to help over the top, giving Rollins the freedom to be aggressive underneath. 

NFL Draft Preview 2015: CB Trae Waynes

This is another edition of our new daily feature: a look at NFL prospects ahead of the 2015 Draft. Each week, we will analyze our top-five prospects at each position, one per day. This is the second week of this series, and we will be looking at cornerbacks. Today’s corner is Trae Waynes out of Michigan State University.

College Career

Despite being only a two-year starter at MSU, Waynes established himself as one of the best cover corners in the nation that will be worthy of a first-round pick this spring. After being redshirted his freshman season and primarily playing special teams a season later, Waynes got his opportunity in 2013 as a redshirt sophomore. The defensive back would start in every game, recording 50 tackles, three INTs, and five passes defended. His good work earned him honorable mention on the All-Big-Ten team. After star corner Darqueze Dennard left for the NFL following the 2013 season, the defensive backfield was now led by Waynes. His finale as a Spartan this past year would not disappoint: he totaled 46 tackles, eight passes broken up, and three more interceptions. Waynes would receive several accolades in 2014 that included second-team All-American honors and first-team All-Big-Ten honors. He also was named a Thorpe Award semifinalist, given to the nation’s best corner annually. 


With today’s NFL game being pass oriented, corners like Waynes are extremely valuable. Waynes is a big corner in terms of height (6’0″, 186 lbs), and his size is well represented in the way he plays. This is a physical corner that has no fear of hitting opposing players and getting his hands on opposing receivers. Waynes flourishes as a man-to-man corner due to the fact he played a lot of press man in college under defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. Rarely do you see this kid give an inch when it’s one on one; he does a tremendous job of mirroring defenders and using his speed to run stride for stride. As we saw at the Combine, Waynes can fly. He ran the best 40 time of any defensive back last weekend, clocking in at a 4.31 official time. 

The former Spartan also understands how to use that speed to finish plays. Getting out of his backpedal, Waynes knows how to close and break on the football. This ability shows he can anticipate routes thanks to superb play-recognition skills. Again, playing under one of the finest defensive coaches in the nation in Narduzzi (now the head coach at Pittsburgh) cannot be emphasized enough. What you have to love most about Waynes’s game is his ball skills—he just has a knack for finding the football in the air and being in the right place to make a play. That’s the kind of reputation you want to have going into the next level. If you get the chance, watch what Waynes did against Penn State this year. I think the footage from that game is a good representation of what he brings to the table. This play was a personal favorite of mine:


Sometimes Waynes’s physicality gets him in trouble and leads to holding or pass interference. However, this might be expected for a corner who played as much man coverage as he was asked to at MSU. While he looked fine in zone when he had to play it, there wasn’t a big enough sample size to make a call on that area of his game. Either way, he is going to have to play a lot more zone in the NFL, so he will need to continue to develop in that aspect. Playing against the run could use some work too; Waynes had a hard time shedding blocks on the outside and making open field tackles. At times, he struggled at pursuing the football correctly.


Waynes is the type of corner that has the ability to shut down one side of the field, and those type of players don’t come around very often. The players we consider the best corners in this league—Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, and Patrick Peterson—are all exceptional man-to-man corners. Waynes has the capability to be the next great defensive back, and coming from an NFL-ready program like Michigan State, this kid is a pretty safe pick. With speed that will transfer well to the next level and mature coverage skills, the transition should be easiest for Waynes. Simply put, he is a play-maker at corner that can change the course of a game.

Best Fit

For each player I review, I like to give a few spots where I can see the prospect playing. Given Waynes’s current climb up draft boards, do not be surprised if the corner is taken as early in the top-15 or top-10. A team in the top-10 that makes the most sense for Waynes is the New York Jets. Gang Green is in desperate need of secondary play and would like another corner to pair with Dee Milliner. 


Waynes would play right away thanks to being pro-ready, and he would once again be privileged with playing for a fine defensive coach in Todd Bowles. Bowles ran a stellar defense in Arizona and was named AP Assistant Coach of the Year as a result. Learning from someone like Bowles, a guy who played in the secondary in the NFL and has coached defense for several years, would bring the best out of Waynes. The rumor is Antonio Cromartie could be heading back to New York and that would be a good player Waynes could learn from. Other good matches for the top corner in the coming draft would be New Orleans at 13 and San Francisco at 15, two teams who are lacking at corner and possess good defensive coordinators (Rob Ryan and Eric Mangini, respectively).

49ers to Release Stevie Johnson

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to release WR Stevie Johnson in the coming days. Cutting Johnson would save the 49ers $5.5 Million in cap space, potentially freeing up money to invest in free agent WRs. Michael Crabtree is a free agent this off-season, though it is possible they would not want to continue to invest in Crabtree.

Johnson found his way to San Francisco via a trade with the Buffalo Bills on draft day last season. After selecting Sammy Watkins with the #4 overall pick, the Bills traded the slot receiver to San Francisco for a conditional 4th-round pick. Johnson did not meet performance thresholds which could have made the pick a 3rd-rounder. 

Pro Football Focus ranked Johnson 22nd of all wide receivers that took at least 25% of snaps this season, good for a score of 6.0. Only Anquan Boldin (18th and 6.6) preformed better for the 49ers. Michael Crabtree ranked 95th with a score of -7.3. 

Johnson caught 35 passes on 49 targets, including 3 TDs, for 435 yards this season for San Francisco. He only dropped 2 passes, good for the best catch percentage on the team. 

NFP Prospect Focus: Eli Harold

The University of Virginia has two underclassmen OLB/DE’s that have entered the draft. They are Eli  Harold and Max Valles. I will profile Valles, who is a top prospect in his own right, tomorrow. Today, we will look at Harold who is the better prospect of the two.
Eli Harold – OLB/DE – Virginia
Harold is a third-year junior and a two-year starter entering the draft. He is the right defensive end in the Virginia scheme and lines up both up and down. He has been very productive over the last two seasons with 31 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.
Looking at his frame, Harold has ideal 3-4 OLB measurables. At the combine he  was 6030 – 246, ran 4.61 and 4.53 in the 40 and had a vertical jump a 35″ as well as a standing long jump of 10’3″. His agility times were excellent also, timing 4.16 in the 20 yard shuttle and 7.07 in the 3-cone.
As a player, Harold has reacts quickly and has good instincts. He finds the ball and he makes plays. He shows strength at the point of attack and flashes the ability to set the edge. I say flashes, because he doesn’t do it on a consistent basis and, at times, can get over powered. Usually, this will happen when he is playing down.
He has good snap reaction to go along with a quick first step. He stays low and shows he can get penetration and disrupt the run. He is a good pursuit player who has the speed to chase plays down and takes good angles. On the negative side, while he flashes being able to shed quickly, there are times he can be slow off a block.
His best trait is pass rushing. He has very good initial quickness and shows he can beat his opponent with speed or moves. He has the speed and body flexibility to bend and get under his opponent when coming with speed. He also is good at faking an outside charge then coming back inside across the face of his opponent. He has quick hands and good overall hand use.
With 15.5 sacks over the last two seasons, Harold has very good sack production but he could and should have more. He gets a number of pressures and just needs to finish his pass rush a little better. He has the talent to be a double digit sack guy.
Harold is not used in coverage that often but he will occasionally drop. When he does, he gets depth and shows good receiver awareness. He has good ball reactions and shows he can plant and drive on the ball.
As good as Harold’s combine was, I doubt that he makes it in to the first round. Still, I see him going within the first 10 picks of the second round, and he should be a rookie starter. At his size, I don’t think that he is a good fit for the 4-3 teams, but the 3-4 clubs will be all over him. I’m sure Harold will be involved in a number of private workouts between now and draft day. A very interesting prospect who still has a lot of upside.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Falcons cut Jonathan Massaquoi

The Atlanta Falcons cut defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi after three seasons.
He was drafted in 2012 out of Troy.
Massaquoi had two sacks last season and has six sacks in three seasons.
Massaquoi’s work habits last season drew rebukes from the old coaching staff.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Adrian Peterson issues statement

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson issued a statement after the arbitration decision that affirmed his suspension was overturned by Judge David Doty.
He’s not reinstated and was returned to the commissioner exempt lsit.
“I was pleased to learn about Judge Doty’s decision,” Peterson said. “It is a positive step in protecting players’ rights and preserving due process for all players.  It also brings me one step closer to getting back on the football field and playing the sport I love.  As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day.  I want to express my gratitude for all of the support I have received from the fans, NFLPA, Jeffrey Kessler, and my agents Ben Dogra, Tracy Lartigue, and Mark Heligman from Relativity Sports.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Dolphins cut Brandon Gibson

The Miami Dolphins are overhauling their receiving corps.
They cut Brian Hartline. Now, they’ve cut Brandon Gibson.
Gibson had a $3.26 million salary and a salary cap figure of $4.3 million.
Gibson caught 29 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown last season, but he was trumped by rookie Jarvis Landry on the depth chart.
The Dolphins are open to trading, restructuring, cutting or keeping disgruntled wide receiver Mike Wallace.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Browns sign Josh McCown

The Cleveland Browns signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown.
The 35-year-old also visited the Buffalo Bills and met with the Bears and New York Jets.
He went 1-10 as a starter last year in Tampa Bay.
“Josh is your consummate professional,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said. “He’s known to be a great guy in the locker room and will be great for the quarterback room. He knows how to get an entire offense on the same page and get a team to rally behind him. He has been exposed to a lot of different types of offenses and we think still has the drive and skill set to be a successful quarterback in this league. We are excited to get him and believe he will help continue to move us in the right direction and help us build the type of team that will bring winning football to Cleveland.”
“I just want to serve our team and help everybody in that locker room, do my best to help everybody in the locker room be better at their job and they’re going to help me, too,” McCown said. “It’s a two-way street. In my room, I want to be able to help those young guys and pass along my knowledge and experiences I’ve had and help them grow.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Cardinals cut defensive tackle Darnell Dockett

The Arizona Cardinals cut defensive tackle Darnell Dockett heading into the final year of his contract.
Dockett was due $6.8 million in his final season.
He was one of the highest paid players on the team.
Dockett is a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
“We have been very clear about our feelings for Darnell and our desire to have him back,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said in a statement. “After speaking with him and his representatives, we decided that this move today makes the most sense for both the team and the player and allows each to keep all of its options open.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Redskins cut Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, re-sign Tom Compton

The Washington Redskins cut defensive end Stephen Bowen and nose tackle Barry Cofield.
They re-signed restricted free agent offensive tackle Tom Compton.
Bowen had an $8.02 million salary-cap figure. Cutting him saved $5.52 million against the cap.
By cutting both defensive linemen, the Redskins saved $9.72 million.
The Redskins signed defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois to a three-year, $9 million contract on Thursday.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun