NFL Draft Profile: Miami ILB Shaquille Quarterman

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

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The Los Angeles Rams are undergoing a defensive scheme and regime change. With that being said, former Pro Bowl starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton has departed via free agency. That leaves the Rams set to start Micah Kiser, a former fifth-round pick and one of their young crop of inexperienced talent. While the Rams have talent and potential at the position, one could make the argument that they will need to look in the NFL Draft early on for a replacement to Littleton.

Here’s a linebacker in the draft who could possess some value to the depth chart, Shaquille Quarterman.

College Bio

The former four-star recruit out of high school picked up where he left off on the football field his true freshman year. Shaquille Quarterman started all 13 games while finishing second on the team in tackles and being given Freshman All-America honors. His sophomore season he kept up the consistency and once again started all 13 games. He was named to the second All-ACC team. Quarterman’s junior year was his best yet and it showed as he was added to the All-CC first team. Finally, in his final season as a Cane, Quarterman was a model of consistency which led him to finish top 10 all-time in school program tackles. On top of that, he earned back-to-back All-ACC first-team honors. More importantly, he’s the only Miami Hurricane to ever start 52 games without missing a single start.

Measurables

Height: 6’0
Weight: 234

Strengths

Quarterman is a former four-year starter that was a model of consistency in college. He’s a true tone-setter on the defense and was a captain for the Hurricanes. An emotional leader in the middle and an experienced linebacker that is able to diagnose plays with ease and quickness. He’s a notch above the average linebacker in this draft in terms of mental processing and football IQ. His foot-step is great and he displays fantastic short-area burst. Quarterman definitely has some serious behind his pads and he will try to lay the boom when he gets an opportunity. Possesses a hard-working demeanor and a true high-motor as a linebacker. Racked up 13 sacks in college and has shown the ability to be an effective blitzer. He has no trouble with shooting the gaps and has a little swipe move he uses to get past blocks. Very few false steps taken on the field, moves when it’s necessary. Possesses true discipline as a run defender and tries to mirror the movement of the running back to keep him under wraps and in front of him. A true old school thumper that wants to come downhill and level the ball-carrier. Very polished tackler who takes quality angles to the ball. Offers serious upside in special teams. Works well in shallow coverage and does a good job covering running backs on screens. Durability is an obvious strength due to the fact Quarterman didn’t miss a game in his four years playing in college.

Weaknesses

Quarterman is extremely limited in coverage. He can help you in the short passing game but that’s where his range ends. Ironically, that’s due to his lack of overall range and length. Quarterman is at the mercy of more athletically and physically gifted players that he may go up against. Simply put, this isn’t his game. Can he get better? Yes, but not much better as his ceiling in coverage is very low. Another thing Quarterman struggles with is lateral ability and changing direction on a dime. He can redirect when he plays downhill but when he plays east and west he struggles. There’s some hip tightness that also limits him. On top of that his sideline-to-sideline tackling ability is lacking as it stands in college, it will only get tougher in the NFL. Four years as a starter and Quarterman had nearly zero ball production. Likely only going to be able to be a two-down linebacker at the next level. Lacks desired long speed.

Three Plays on Tape

 

Development

Shaquille Quarterman projects as a key contributor on first and second down for an NFL team. Due to his lack of coverage ability and his athletic cap on his body it is going to be extremely difficult to be a three-down starter in the NFL. Quarterman has a phenomenal amount of production, experience and leadership that will help a team. I could definitely see a team falling in love with this guy and making him part of their defense. More of a high floor than a high ceiling. The question is how much better can Quarterman get with his limitations?

Draft Grade: Early 5th round

Bottom Line

Quarterman is a player that can play in this league no doubt about it. He was a menace in the ACC and made plenty of plays all over the field. His lack of production in coverage will make it hard for him to stick as a starter but you could be looking at a player that catches on as a chess piece for a defense and a special teams ace. If the Rams are interested in grabbing a man with plenty of experience, leadership qualities and durability Quarterman might make some sense. He offers some serious ability against the run and as a blitzer which would give them something to work with in addition to what is already on the roster.

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