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Better Know a Draft Prospect: Defensive End Quentin Groves

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The least you should know about Quentin Groves...

Height

6-3

Weight

259 lbs

40 Yard Dash

4.53

20 Yard Dash

2.62

Bench Reps

30

3 Cone

7.31

Compares To:

DeMARCUS WARE-Dallas: " Much like the Chargers' Shawne Merriman and Ware, Groves has that explosive quickness and outstanding suddenness to wreak havoc in the backfield. He is a perfect fit for a hybrid outside linebacker/rush end position in a 3-4 defensive scheme and like Merriman and Ware, he could thrive if allowed to play in a stand-up position. He was having a banner senior campaign before dislocating several toes, but with his balance and body control, along with lateral movement, he should have no problems adjusting to playing off the line. With so much emphasis on pressuring the pocket and getting to the quarterback in the NFL, there is no other player in this draft that can match Groves' pass rushing ability."

Fun Fact Interview

Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why? I am imtrigued by Reggie White because of what he stands for off the field..

In college, what player hit you the hardest? Who was the recipient of your best hit? John Parker Wilson received some of my hardest hits. I haven't really been hit hard.

What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day? Law & Order

What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why? Denzel Washington would play me because he is a legendary actor..

What is one thing your teammates don't know about you? They don't know I play the drums.

What reality TV show would you like to be on and why? I would be on Survivor because its man versus nature.

What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field? Winning fifty games as a senior class; Getting married to my lovely wife Treska.

When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team? I play with all the teams.

Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how? My wife because she encourages me to be the best every time I go onto the field.

Better Know a Draft Prospect: Auburn Defensive End Quentin Groves

Introduction

If you've been paying attention, you know I've rejected the premise that for the Jaguars to have a successful draft that they must take a defensive end in the first round.  There is depth in the draft, though it's not without limitations.  The deeper talent comes with a price, either in development or in type, and there is no assurance that they'll become a contributor.   What if the Jaguars do go defensive end in the first round?   It's my opinion that there are only four clear cut "first round" talents at defensive end.  Vernon Gholston, Chris Long, Derrick Harvey and Phillip Merling, all four should be gone before the Jaguars pick at 26.  Gholston and Long are gone in the top five, Harvey and Merling get picked up by Carolina,

Quentin Groves, Potential First-Round Draft Pick

Minnesota, or Tennessee.  The next "tier" of talent has Quentin Groves, Calais Cambell and Lawrence Jackson, in that order.   They're second tier talents for a reason, Groves is probably a better 3-4 outside linebacker than 4-3 defensive end, Campbell has his own issues of motivation and performance, Lawrence Jackson is a better run stuffing right defensive end than pass rushing left end, and isn't really what the Jaguars need.

But maybe I've got the whole thing wrong.  I've said for weeks now in various venues that there isn't a true 4-3 defensive end in this draft that the Jaguars can get their hands on.  Worse, I've downplayed players based on a traditional idea of what a 4-3 end looks like, assuming that if a player isn't tall and big, they won't be picked.

Let's go a little further outside the box and take into account Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars' tendency to draft players that are big and fast, rather than traditional players based on position.  It's why we have Matt Jones, it's why we have Brian Smith, and it's why I think the first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars could be Auburn's Quentin Groves.

Why Quentin?  He's fast, deadly fast, with a relentless desire to crush quarterbacks or hit running backs.  He brings speed to the table that the Jaguars have lacked on their defensive line and is the equivalent of a guided missile in the pass rush.  Drafting Quentin means that every down he's on the field is a chance for a hit on the quarterback, though with some liability in the running game.  Should he prove himself a threat, he should start to see double teams, hopefully opening someone else up on the defensive line for some intense quarterback pressure.  Remember, Quentin is a little undersized to play 4-3 defensive end, but there's another legendary pass rusher in our own division that's got the same knock, and that's Dwight Freeney. Where Freeney uses his speed to set up a spin move, Groves combines his quickness with a club and rip move that blasts through the offensive line and right into the backfield.   Without implying that Groves is better than Freeney, not by any stretch, the good thing about his moves is that it's much harder to draw him away from the play like you'll see happen to the Colts end.

Here's what Quentin Groves thinks about Quarterbacks:

You can't hit them in practice. You have to stay off them. They don't do too much running. "I don't like quarterbacks, period. I don't know why."

Utilizing Quenting Groves on the Jaguars defense is just the sort of versatile player that will allow our new Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams to use his imagination a bit as he schemes our defense.  Without igniting the infamous "Jaguars switch to a 3-4" debate, as a situational move, Quentin would be a devastating outside linebacker.  Even with his hand down, he'd bring huge speed on our line, something that we know Del Rio loves.

Is it a risk?  Absolutely, in a worst case scenario the Jaguars would have yet another designated pass rusher that's a liability against the run and only used on obvious passing situations.  He'll be a good pro, but he's a player that has to be used correctly, though I can only imagine what Gregg Williams would do with the guy.  

Video Killed the Scouting Report

Quentin Groves, by the Numbers

Quentin Groves is 6'3 and 259 pounds, built into a "Has a lean, yet athletic frame with a V-shaped torso, tight abdomen, good muscle tone, thick thighs and calves and a very long arm reach to keep blockers off his body or extend for the thrown ball outside his frame".   He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at the combine is one of the fastest for his size and his quickness/burst in the 10-yard split is an impressive 1.57 seconds.  Though he's considered "smaller" for a defensive end, his 30 bench reps, 29.5 inch vertical jump and 10' broad jump all indicate that he's explosive with the burst required to surprise an NFL offensive lineman.  We've learned through our experience with Maurice Jones-Drew that a lack of height is no reason to slight a player, Quentin finds himself with a bit of a leverage advantage, though I wouldn't call him short by any means.  A concern with Groves is his weight, it fluctuates, as he was down to 249 at his pro-day, though an NFL weight room and conditioning coach should correct that.

At Auburn, Groves was a quarterback missile.  2007 saw him lead the NCAA in quarterback pressures with 23, he had three sacks, and seven stops for losses for a net of -59 yards.  He's also surprisingly strong against the run, breaking down the film shows that he allowed 59 yards on the ground on 35 running plays his direction.  Third down is where Quentin excels, stopping 28 drives with 3rd down stops, 6 of which were on the goal line.  The only thing that stopped Groves all season were the dislocated toes he injured against Florida.  He missed two games and when he returned, switched from left defensive end to left outside linebacker.

His career stats are impressive, considering the SEC offensive linemen he faced.  26 total sacks, 38 pressures, 8 fumbles caused, 75 solo tackles, 45 assists, and even a 13 yard kickoff return.

Notable Quotables

On his pro-day performance:

I showed I could drop. I showed I could catch. I showed I could do the defensive line drills," he said. "Where do I go from here? I just pray I get drafted as high as possible."

On what position he'd play in the NFL:

My thought is I will do what the coaches want me to do. If they want me to play linebacker, 4-3 end, play the slot, whatever. The same goes in the NFL, I will do whatever an NFL team wants me to do. As far as what I like, I like showing off in space and rushing the passer.

On Who he would be for a day, if he could be anyone:

"It would be Jesus. I would like to see what its like to have the weight of the world on your shoulders. I would love to have some of his experiences and to be able to persevere like he did."

On the best thing about Greenville Mississippi, his home town:

"The catfish at some of our restaurants. They claim they serve some of the biggest steaks in the country, too. I love my mama's cooking, though. I guess the food in general is the best thing about my hometown."

3-4, 4-3, Just where does Quentin Groves fit?

Taking Quentin Groves involves taking a player who's a better fit in a system different than the one we run.  Nothing against Groves or Del Rio's scheme, but it's not really a perfect fit.  

To help figure out where Groves would fit in our offense, a dear friend of mine Hoosier Teacher who despite being a Die-Hard Broncos fan, spent many years as a defensive coordinator and has forgotten more about Football than I'll ever know.  He's kind enough to answer a few questions about Quentin Groves and the 4-3 defense.

On examining Groves as a player:

Don't always make a comparison with a particular player for your analysis.  Dwight Freeney may be lighter than Groves, but his edge rushing speed and
his ability to make quick turns makes him a mighty pass rusher.  Denver's star pass rusher Dumervill (we call him Doom) is very undersized, but has the wingspan to shed blockers and the speed to "outrace a blocker's hips".  Comparing Groves and Freeney may not be the way to go.

Instead, look at Groves and what he does.  While having a background at DE, he is much more valuable to
an NFL team as an OLB.  In fact, any NFL team will change him to an OLB.  He is tall (great for coverage,
not so good for keeping a low center of gravity).  He is muscular, fast, and changes direction quickly.  He
would be a perfect pass rusher, but he can also cover for passes in man or mid zone.  I wouldn't call him
"woefully" out of position at DE, but badly misused (because he can do so much more as an OLB).

On Groves as a "reach" for the Jaguars:

In a 3-4 he could do either job, but in a 4-3 he is just wasted at DE when he has such great LB attributes.  He could play at DE in the JAX 4-3, but the pick would be a reach.  If used at OLB he would be a steal.  You could have John Elway on a baseball team (he played for a Yankees farm team), or you could have
him at QB on a football team.  You can have Groves as a good DE, but he is MUCH more valuable as a LB.

On Quentin Groves in Jacksonville's defense:

My take on Groves is that he would be a good pass
rusher for JAX.  The biggest knock is that he would be a reach because JAX wouldn't be using him to his fullest potential.

If Del Rio likes his guys fast and doesn't care about "fit" then Groves would work.  I might not say that Groves isn't a good fit though.  He is a very effective DE, and he gives you the option to throw in a zone blitz play and screw up an opponent's offensive line.  You could also pick up Groves, then turn around (on draft day) to trade him to a team that really needs an OLB.  He can do a lot for JAX, but he could do so much more for another team as an OLB.

On what Groves would bring to the Jaguars:

First I'll reiterate that he's a steal at OLB and a reach at DE, NOT because he isn't a good DE, but because he brings much more to a team using him as an OLB.  Because of his versitility, Groves gives the Jags several weapons -
  1. An effective pass rusher,
  2. Because he can drop back and play OLB, Jax can run
several variants of the "zone blitz",

3. In a pinch, he can be moved to OLB to cover for an
injury.  He provides depth at two positions.

4. He would also make an effective coverage player on
special teams if JAX feels he is worth the risk.

5. THe flexibility to run a few 3-4s if the situation
warrants it.

Thanks again HT for putting up with my questions, all of us at Big Cat Country appreciate it and look forward to seeing your Broncos in Week 6.  HT, by the way, writes one of my favorite series on the web, his "Football University  over at Mile High Report is a great way to learn more about the game, even with a Denver focus.  

Scouting Reports

Positives

  • New Era Scouting: Fiery player who plays hard on every snap...Was able to switch positions in the middle of his senior year, loves to pick the minds of defensive coaches about schemes to better understand the defense as a whole...Explosive athlete who can do whatever is asked of him...Elite level speed...Gets around the corner quickly on the pass rush...shows god instincts around the line of scrimmage...Excellent speed rusher who is relentless...Understands angles when in pursuit...Solid tackler...very good job of shedding blocks
  • Scott Wright's NFL Countdown: Excellent athleticism and agility...Very good timed speed and quickness...Explosive with a burst to close...Terrific range and does a nice job in pursuit...Good strength and decent power...Reliable tackler...Offers some versatility...Was real productive.
  • The Scout's Notebook: Outstanding pass rusher off the edge. Plays like a DE at times, but a LB at others. Plays both sides. Rushes from upright position at times. Quick off the ball. Had a sack late in the KSU game that caused a fumble. The ball was scooped up and run back for a TD to help Auburn to win 23-13. Groves was facing a marginal blocker on the play. He also lined up really wide. Drops back on some zone blitzes. Moves okay, but isn't natural in coverage. Was badly burned by a RB on a cutback move vs USF. Played upright on a running play that came to his side. Shed the RT, stepped inside and tackled the RB. Looked good, natural on the play. Was stout on a goal line run play vs USF. Wasn't able to make the tackle, but held his own vs a big OT. Actually moved the guy backward. Looks like a LB. Chased Matt Groethe down out in space. Looked fast, agile on the play. Closed well. Looks most comfortable playing upright. Can be stout at the POA. Will take on OL. Had one real impressive play vs USF. Started the play upright. Shed a TE at the snap. Then took on a pulling OL and shoved him backward. Wasn't able to tackle the RB, but completely disrupted the run and several guys got him for a TFL. Knocked out a teammate in that game when they hit the QB at the same time. Q got a shoulder in the other DE's head. Had a TFL when he was unblocked and fired off the edge. Tackled the RB on a draw play for a short loss. USF tried to block him with a TE on a pass play and Q got all kinds of pressure on Grothe (Sims got the sack). Sack off the edge vs LSU. Got a good burst from LDE and slung Flynn to the ground. Good COD. Senior season was hurt by injury. Started off really well, but then hurt several toes and missed some time.
  • NFL Draft Scout: Relentless pass rusher who compensates for a lack of size and bulk with tremendous suddenness coming off the snap...Shows the lateral range and change of direction agility needed to quickly adapt to playing linebacker at the next level...Closes with a sharp burst and has good angle concept slashing into the backfield through inside gaps...Shows very good balance and body control on the pass rush and shows proper knee bend to consistently turn the corner...Has outstanding foot quickness and stays low in his pads to easily avoid the slower blockers...Shows good alertness on the field, diagnosing the play quickly, showing urgency closing on the ball...Shows very good flexibility moving down the line and likes to get involved in downfield action...Plays with leverage, doing a very good job of extending his long arms...Plays with nice effort and toughness (will wear down later in games due to constantly battling with blockers much bigger than him at the X's and is better served playing off the line)...Self-starter who is a hard worker in the training room and has become a respected and vocal leader in the locker room...Shows outstanding suddenness and acceleration off the snap and to shoot gaps and disrupt the backfield...Displays good field awareness to diagnose plays and quickly track the ball...With his explosive take-off quickness, he has had good success beating offensive tackles upfield, as he is quick to turn over and reach his top speed...When he stays low in his pads and explodes off the snap, he surprises the blocker time after time...Has good ball location instincts and is quick to diagnose the plays, playing with high energy to close on the ball...Has the flexibility to play with leverage and even though he struggles at the point to split double teams, he is best when tracking the ball on the move...When a blocker tries to reach him, he can generate a strong hand punch and is quick to reset and separate from blockers

Negatives

  • New Era Scouting: Undersized for a three-down, 4-3 defensive end, Injury prone but has shown a willingness to play through some pain, needs more repetitions in pass coverage, needs to develop more pass-rush moves to consistently pressure the passer at the next level.
  • Scott Wright's NFL Countdown: Extremely inconsistent and lacks a great motor...Undersized and doesn't have the ideal bulk that you look for..Isn't stout at the point...Marginal instincts, awareness and recognition...Limited pass rush repertoire...Too aggressive at times...Slow off the line...Has trouble shedding blocks...Poor technique..A questionable work ethic.
  • NFL Draft Scout: Has very good muscle tone, but is a bit thin-looking across the chest...Does not have the strength needed to battle constantly with an offensive lineman at the X's, but compensates with good hand usage and a sudden burst to escape block pressure...Has had three minor off-field issues that need further clarification...Plays with a high motor, but will sometimes throttle down when not involved in the play (intensity can wane)...Very slippery getting into the backfield, but can be neutralized by the linemen once they get their hands on him (lacks size and bulk to over-power bigger people)...Very inefficient when trying to split double teams, as he will generally get washed out vs. combo blocks...Best making plays on the move, as his anchor is not strong to maintain at the point of attack...Has a punishing hand jolt to shock a blocker, but needs to use it with more consistency...Gets a bit reckless in his pursuit, and while he has great timed speed he will gather some when trying to redirect (needs to be more selective in choosing his spots moving up field)...Relies a lot on his suddenness to pressure the pocket and while he takes good angles to the ball and has a nifty spin move, he could use some more moves in his charge into the backfield...Has the loose hips and smooth backpedal, along with the speed to mirror the receiver through the route, but can be fooled by pump fakes and play action (still developing a linebacker's mentality and must be more alert to the ball in flight)...Played linebacker vs. Tennessee Tech, Georgia and Alabama at the end of 2007 season, but struggled with the new rush and pass concepts (needs to convince scouts he can adapt to his new role as a hybrid OLB/DE).

Injury Watch

Dislocated several toes and missed games in 2007, but that's not the story.  Quentin recently had surgery to correct what's called Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.  WPW is a condition where the electrical system of the heart gets out of whack from an abnormal electrical structure.  Quentin underwent a procedure known as radiofrequency catheter ablation, where the abnormal electrical pathway is destroyed.  If the procedure is a success, the patient is considered cured.  

Just for the sake of trivia, other famous people have had WPW: Marilyn Manson, Meat Loaf, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail blazers and Brad Porton.  

Since the procedure was a success, this heart issue should not be a concern.  Less than 5% of recipients suffer a recurrence.  

Character Watch

Quentin Groves had an unpleasant 2006 off-season when he was arrested twice, once for driving without insurance and a suspended license, another for a domestic dispute.  This dispute happened when neighbors called the police because of a heated argument between Groves and his wife, he was arrested, but charges were dropped.   I don't think this is a concern.

Why should he be on the Jacksonville Jaguars

Quentin Groves is not a perfect fit for out defense as it stands right now.  However, if we drafted Groves the Jaguars would find themselves with a multi-functional quarterback attack machine that could take a variety of roles in Gregg William's defense.  He's fast, we know how Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars front office value speed over size, and used correctly, Quentin gives us a pass-rush force like we've not seen over the last several seasons.  He's not a true 3 down defensive linemen though, he'll struggle at times against better offensive linemen, though his upside outweighs these faults.  I get the impression that Del Rio and Williams would salivate at the match-up possibilities, especially if he allows us to stick to a four-man rush.  Rushing four and getting pressure means passers like Manning and Brady get the worst of both worlds, rather than the disaster that was rushing four against the Patriots in the playoffs.

Is he my first choice for a first round pick, no.  That'd be either Phillip Merling or Jeff Otah, but there's no certantity that either will be available.  The more I think about Quentin, the more excited I get about his possibilities on our defense though.  Anything that forces some outside-the-box thinking is fine by me.  You don't beat Manning without a bit of creativity.

Better Know a Draft Prospect: The Series: