When former Packers general manager Ted Thompson selected cornerback Quinten Rollins in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft, it was off Rollins’ potential. Rollins was a basket player at the University of Miami (OH) from 2010-2014. He only played one season for the Redhawks football team, but it was a memorable one. The cornerback registered seven interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, which earned him the MAC’s defensive player of the year award.
Although Rollins was a very raw player going into the draft, the potential he displayed in that one season was enough for Thompson to select him 62nd overall. Unfortunately for the Packers, Rollins has yet to display that potential he displayed at Miami. Uneven play and injuries have derailed Rollins Packers career so far. With not living up to his second round selection status so far, it might mean that Rollins days as a Packer are numbered. The clock is ticking for Quinten Rollins.
The Packers were hoping that his ball hawking ability he displayed in college would transfer to the next level. However, that hasn’t been the case for Rollins. In his three year career with the Packers, he has only three interceptions. His best season was his rookie campaign, when he notched two interceptions and one sack. But since that season, he has only one interception and hasn’t registered a sack.
After starting 10 games in 2016, the Packers were hoping at the very least that he would earn the starting nickel back job in 2017. He started out as the Packers number three cornerback behind Davon House and Damarious Randall, but as the season went along, his playing time dropped. Last year’s top draft pick, Kevin King, and safety Morgan Burnett passed him up on the depth chart. Then in week six, he suffered an Achilles injury that forced him to the injured reserve, ending his very disappointing season.
From all indications, Rollins appears to be on track for being ready for this year’s training camp. Before the start of NFL free agency and the draft, it appeared that the Packers would need a healthy Rollins for their secondary. But that all changed once free agency and the draft hit.
Top personnel executive Brian Gutekunst made a point this off-season to improve the Packers secondary. They brought back former Packer Tramon Williams and re-signed House. Along with those signings, the Packers spent their two first two picks in this year’s draft on cornerbacks, Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. To go along with that, King appears to be fully healthy after suffering a season ending shoulder injury last season. All of this leaves Rollins in no man’s land on where he fits on the depth chart of the Packers secondary.
Many have speculated that Rollins might be a better fit at safety, or a position that former Packer Micah Hyde played for them back in 2016. Similar to Hyde, Rollins doesn’t process high-end speed. At the combine in 2015, Rollins ran a 4.57 in the forty yard dash. That isn’t typical for an NFL cornerback, especially one that stands at 5’11” like Rollins does. A shift to safety might be the right call for the Packers and Rollins. However, like with cornerback, Rollins would have an uphill battle getting playing time at that position.
The Packers parted ways with Burnett this off-season. But the Packers had a plan for that. They spent a second round pick in 2017 on Josh Jones, a safety from North Carolina State. It appears that Jones will be taking over for Burnett, starting opposite of Ha Ha Clinton Dix, who will man the other safety spot. The projected top backup to Jones and Clinton Dix appears to be Kentrell Brice. Like with Rollins, Brice is coming off-season ending surgery. However, the Packers are very high on the former undrafted free agent who has displayed top end speed and a willingness to make a big hit.
Rollins appears to be a man without a position. Because of this, the clock is ticking on his Packers career. The Packers could very well keep Rollins on the roster, letting him play out his rookie contract. But playing time will be difficult for him. His best chance of contributing might come on special teams. Still, to spend a second round pick on a player who just contributes on special teams is pretty disappointing. Especially one that is entering his fourth season.
The best chance for Rollins to slow down that ticking clock is for him to have a lights out training camp. To do that, he will need to display that ball hawking ability he had while at Miami. If he doesn’t, that clock will come to an abrupt stop and so will Rollins Packers career.