NFL Draft

Miami (OH) CB Quinten Rollins Proves He Belongs At Senior Bowl


In the book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell examines what factors contribute to high levels of success in a variety of fields ranging from sports to various business sectors. In that book, Gladwell discusses the idea of the 10,000-hour rule, which basically means that it takes a great deal of time and deliberate practice to become great in whatever field you’re pursuing.

Former Miami (OH) cornerback Quinten Rollins has not put in his 10,000 hours for football, in fact, he would be lucky to have accrued half of that time. Despite this fact, Rollins is considered one of the top defensive back prospects in the NFL draft and a player who has been said to have “ridiculous upside.”

Rollins has taken a unique path on his way to the NFL draft. He originally went to Miami (OH) to play basketball where he was a star point guard and four-year starter for the Redhawks. However, during his senior year, he decided to make the switch to football.

“I actually knew during basketball season, a scout had contacted my basketball coach and he wanted to see if I had interest playing football and I played in high school, so I was like sure why not and just give it a try,” Rollins said. “Then I sat down with the head coach at Miami and he said if I came out for spring ball and I looked good he’d give me a scholarship. Fortunately enough I looked good enough to get a scholarship and I just took advantage of it.”

It was the way that Rollins took advantage of his opportunity that put him on the radar of NFL scouts across the league. In his one and only season on the gridiron, he recorded 72 tackles (four for losses), seven interceptions and nine pass deflections. As a player whose main focus was basketball for the four prior years that is fantastic; however, you can see the immature skill set from not having the opportunity to put in those 10,000 hours.

“I’m trying to improve on my weaknesses,” Rollins said. “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.”

While his inexperience has shown up down in Mobile, particularly with his hand usage while trying to jam wide receivers, he has shown the footwork, hip fluidity and ball skills that are necessary to become a productive cornerback in the NFL.

The fact that Rollins has any ability at cornerback is astonishing. He has little to no experience in the secondary as he mostly played at running back and wide receiver in high school. Nevertheless, Rollins has been able to take a few of those hours spent practicing basketball and translate them to the football field.

“You can’t be really physical in basketball, you got to do more of a mirror and technique and out here (football field) you can kind of get physical a little bit, but at the same time you just mirror that guy,” Rollins said.

Rollins’ ability to mirror his opponents and stick to them like glue has drawn praise from scouts and coaches alike at the Senior Bowl. Despite his lack of experience, Rollins has made veteran-like plays because of his great football acumen and instincts throughout each practice.

In a league of outliers, the 10,000-hour rule helps illustrate and illuminate the path that many players took on their way to the NFL; however, Rollins deviated from that path and it may lead him to NFL stardom. The epitome of a true outlier.

About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and