Former North Carolina Tar Heels defensive lineman Robert Quinn was selected first overall in the NFL Pro Bowl draft by Jerry Rice Tuesday night. Quinn, along with Saints quarterback Drew Brees, was Rice’s first selection out of the eligible Pro Bowl player pool for the game this weekend. This is the first year the NFL is trying a draft style format to the game, with players suiting up for either Jerry Rice’s team or Deion Sander’s squad.
Quinn played for North Carolina in 2008 and 2009, showing great promise as an underclassmen. He recorded 34 tackles in his freshman season, and finished third in ACC Rookie of the Year voting. His sophomore year, he continued his strong play with 52 tackles and 11 sacks for UNC. However, he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and missed his entire Junior season.
Quinn declared for the NFL Draft and was drafted 14th in 2011 by the Saint Louis Rams. In Saint Louis, Quinn has thrived as a pass rushing defensive end. HIs breakout season came in 2013, when he had 19 sacks for the Rams to go along with 57 tackles and seven forced fumbles. He was named the PWFA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and earned his first Pro Bowl selection as well.
For the Pro Bowl draft, after Rice took Brees and Quinn with his first two picks, Sanders selected J.J. Watt from Houston and Jamaal Charles of Kansas City. After those picks, Sanders and Rice alternated between picking lineman, punters, and fullbacks for their teams. The selections of the remaining quarterbacks, running backs, wideouts, and other positions will resume Wednesday night in the live portion of the draft on NFL Network.