Cornerback prospect Quinten Rollins has potential with a lot to prove

Posted Jan 20, 2015

Miami (Ohio) cornerback Quinten Rollins is one of the players down at the Senior Bowl this week with a lot to prove.

MOBILE, Ala. -- The one word no prospect wants to hear in the months leading into May’s NFL Draft is “potential.”

It means a player is capable of becoming something NFL teams will covet, but has yet to prove it.

Miami (Ohio) cornerback Quinten Rollins is one of the players down at the Senior Bowl this week who has a lot to prove. He’s got potential, but needs to show more.

Last year at this time he was a starting point guard on Miami’s basketball team, and one of the NCAA’s leaders in steals.

Rollins thought his future was going to be overseas playing professional basketball, but sometimes fate has a funny way of steering a person down another path.

Quinten RollinsQuinten Rollins (Photo: AP Images)

A Baltimore Ravens scout saw Rollins play basketball and encouraged him to try football. Rollins played running back and receiver in high school, but that was four years prior.

“I sat down with the head (football) coach at Miami and he said if I came out for spring ball and I looked good he’d give me a scholarship,” Rollins said. “Fortunately enough I looked good enough to get a scholarship and I just took advantage of it.”

Rollins, who officially weighed in at 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds at the Senior Bowl, accumulated 214 steals over his basketball career, which is the second-most in school history.

In just one season playing collegiate football, he intercepted seven passes, defended 16 total passes, had 72 tackles and was named the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Rollins says the basketball skills that helped him win defensive player of the year for Miami three times on the hardwood has helped him tremendously on the football field.

His best attributes as a football player are his foot quickness and ability to play press man coverage. Those are some of the same skills that allowed him to be such a terrific defender on the basketball court.

But the concern by NFL people is his lack of experience. He relied on his quickness and physicality to make plays in the MAC. He’s not as technically sound as other cornerbacks heading into the NFL.

“I’m trying to improve on my weaknesses,” Rollins said after Tuesday’s practice. “I have a lot of areas I have to sharpen up. I’m not really worried about press man, I know I can do that, off man is my weakness, so I’m trying to work on that and get better at that.”

Rollins was a press man and boundary corner and hardly ever played off a receiver at Miami. He has to get better playing in space heading into the next level.

That’s why this week is so big for him. He has to prove he can be technically sound and play with a very deep and talented receiver group here this week.

The Lions have needs at cornerback with Rashean Mathis and Cassius Vaughn hitting free agency, and Bill Bentley (ACL) and Nevin Lawson (foot) coming off injured reserve.

The biggest question surrounding Rollins is whether he’s ready to help a team now, or if he needs some time to work on his technique and develop. This week will go a long way to determining that answer.

Rollins says not playing a lot of football can be a positive to the right team.

“I really don’t know much,” Rollins said. “I’m still learning. I feel like once I learn that the sky is the limit. They can put me into a system ... come in, learn theirs and be open to the new skills they’re going to teach me and just go from there.”

Rollins looks to be a second- or third-day prospect right now, but can move his way up draft boards this week, and the coming months, with good workouts.