With the Cowboys headed for the top of the draft board come April, we thought we'd get a jump start on introducing you to the players who could wind up being a big part of the next Cowboys team. Next up is Robert Quinn.
Name: Robert Quinn
Position: Outside Linebacker/Defensive End
School: North Carolina
Why He Should Be the Pick: Because you have to swing for the fences sometimes.
Quinn isn't the most sensible selection for a team that has more serious needs at other spots, but he's the kind of pick that people could look back on in five years and say that it was the best selection of the entire draft. He's got elite speed that he uses to make life miserable for quarterbacks off the edge, making him a mouth-watering option across from DeMarcus Ware. It would look a lot like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis in Indianapolis, which is funny because that's what the Cowboys thought they'd get from Anthony Spencer.
He also overcome a brain tumor during high school, one that came with a diagnosis that his career might be over. That bodes well for a team that needs to change its habit of acquiring players who choose apathy over desire.
It's never really panned out that way, however. Spencer's solid enough, but he isn't making any major waves and isn't the kind of guy that scares opposing offenses when they're planning for the Cowboys. Quinn's a big risk, but if it pays off the Cowboys will have as overwhelming a pass rush as there is in all of football. Spencer's never going to give them that.
Why He Won't Be the Pick: Where to begin? Quinn hasn't played at all this season as a result of accepting gifts from agents. He was declared permanently ineligible, as was Dez Bryant a year ago, and at some point acquiring players who can't follow the rules will likely wind up hurting the Cowboys.
He's also a defensive end without any experience playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Plenty of other players, like Ware, have made the switch, but it might not be wise for the Cowboys to take such a risk with what they hope will be a rare pick near the top of the draft.
And, finally, there's the fact that the team has big enough needs that taking a mighty swing at a player with high bust potential isn't particularly wise.
Likelihood: Under five percent. Quinn's ability has to excite anyone who has seen him play, but there's just too many red flags to make him a favorite to wind up with the Cowboys in 2011. Talented as he is, he'd have a better shot of getting to Dallas if they were picking in the mid-late teens where, like Bryant, he'd be a bargain thanks to the character concerns. At the very top of the process, he's too much of a risk.
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