This post begins a series in which I'll take a look at what various draft sites are saying about Gamecocks who are likely to be taken in the upcoming NFL Draft. I'll discuss whether the assessments are correct based on my observations of the players during their time at Carolina. Today, we're talking about CBS Sports's takes on Kelcy Quarles. I'll leave aside consideration of Quarles's recent drama in New York, considering that nothing conclusive has emerged from that scenario thus far.
1."Often the first of South Carolina's talented defensive line off the ball, Quarles consistently splits gaps, showing both the burst to surprise would-be blockers and the power to crash through late attempts by his opponents to latch on to him."
Accurate observation. Quarles's combination of quickness off the snap and power to work through blocks in certainly his calling card. Let's look at two examples. First of all, watch as Quarles uses his quick burst to stand up Clemson center Ryan Norton, and then powers through Norton's hold:
Now, watch as Quarles splits the left side of the Kentucky line to stuff Raymond Sanders on one play and then stands up the left guard and runs through the guard's hold to sack Jalen Whitlow on the next play:
2. "An active defender, Quarles hustles laterally and downfield in pursuit and is willing to leave his feet to make the diving, heavy hit on ballcarriers."
Another accurate observation that reflects Quarles's aforementioned athleticism. The following play, in which Quarles stunts left and then chases down Austyn Carta-Samuels after the Vandy QB is flushed of the pocket, is a solid illustration:
3. "Capable of threatening on his own, but many of Quarles' biggest plays in 2013 came while opponents dedicated extra blockers to stopping teammate Jadeveon Clowney."
Fair enough. If Quarles had returned for his senior season, he very well could have seen his stats dip as he would have likely been the objects of double teams considering Carolina's current roster. Last year, Clowney was the one getting the double teams in pass coverage and seeing most of the running plays go towards other parts of the line. Quarles certainly benefited. That said, Quarles had one of his best games of the season against Kentucky, while Clowney was out with an injury.
4. "Doesn't get his hands in the passing lanes often enough, considering how frequently he's near the quarterback."
Again, fair enough. Quarles, despite regularly camping out in the backfield, only recorded a single pass batted last season.
5. "Used as part of a rotation and may tire easily as he carries extra weight around the middle."
I'm not sure how meaningful the first part of this comment is. Do many major college football teams not rotate their defensive tackles? That said, Quarles could afford to lose a couple of pounds around the middle. He could probably do so without losing power, improving his speed and stamina.
6. Bonus: NFL.com on the Chicago Bears and Quarles: "The craziest question I was asked [during Combine interviews] was if I can cook. I told them I didn't get this big in college (because) I couldn't cook."
Submitted without further comment.