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.
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.
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.
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.