The mighty Quinn? Maybe not, says one draftnik

Geez, draft season can be so darn confusing.

Take the case of TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.

After the Senior Bowl, one draft analyst told me Dalton had a strong arm.

But another guru had a slightly different opinion: Dalton, he explained, didn’t have a strong arm.

Do you notice the difference there?

Then there’s Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, a prospect so alluring that he inspired another man’s draft-crush proposal. But one man’s gold is another man’s Gholston. That would be Vernon Gholston, a celebrated mega-bust whose name former scout Dave Razzano invoked when discussing Miller with CSN Bay Area.

This brings us to North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, a potential 3-4 outside linebacker who is likely on the 49ers’ list of candidates to select with the No. 7 overall pick.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Quinn is a physical force that former Raiders personnel executive Michael Lombardi said could be the No. 1 overall pick. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said of Quinn “He’s as good a natural pass rusher as I have ever seen.”

Of course – and surely you saw this coming – not everyone is similarly smitten with Quinn.

Sporting News draft analyst Russ Lande, a former scout with the Rams and Browns, said Quinn lacks consistent aggressiveness, passion and intensity. He’s not completely down on Quinn (he never invoked the ghost of Gholston), but he’s giving him a late-first-round -to-early-second-round grade.

The problem? Lande believes Quinn has an off-and-on motor (to explain the matter in draft-ese).

“He didn’t play aggressively,” Lande said, talking about his impressions after watching extensive film of Quinn after the combine. “He would go (rush), but if a guy got a hold of him at times he would just sort of would react like ‘All right, I guess I’m tied up.’ And I just didn’t see that passion or intensity to make every single play. There were times when he played all pedal to the medal and when he did, he was phenomenal.

“ … I think he competes hard. I just don’t know if he plays aggressively every snap. There’s a difference between the two. You can be a competitive kid, but just not be real aggressive. And it’s hard to be very successful as a pass rusher when you’re not aggressive all the time.”

Lande recognizes he’s in the minority on Quinn, “There are people I’ve spoken with, people I respect, and they think he is by far and away the best player in the draft,” he said.

And Lande can see why NFL teams might have a similar view – he actually has Denver selecting Quinn with the No. 2 overall pick in his latest mock draft. He says Quinn is a rare physical talent with hard-to-find natural pass-rush skills. He doesn’t question his work ethic or his character. His on-the-field consistency, however, has Lande forecasting something less than greatness.

“I just don’t see a great player all the time,” Lande said. “I see a great player at times. I see a very good one at other times. And occasionally I see a guy who isn’t making plays that he should be able to make. And that, to me, is what’s most concerning. It’s not that he doesn’t all the great character and intangibles. I just don’t see the consistency on the field.”

So who’s right about Quinn? The question, obviously, won’t be fully answered for a few years.

In the meantime, I saw Razzano described Quinn as “relentless.”

Do you notice the difference there?

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