During the early stages of April 28, 2011, however, Quinn was simply frustrated. It was the night of the first round of the NFL draft, and Quinn was frustrated that his top-10 talent had dropped to the middle of the first round, displeased with other organizations who gave the impression he was a top priority, and instead decided to use their first-round draft choice elsewhere.
St. Louis was only on the periphery of Quinn’s radar. Not that he had anything against joining the Rams, but rather their draft slot—14th overall—did not particularly suit the Rams’ defensive end. The Rams, conversely, could hardly believe their good fortune as Quinn slid to their pick.
“I think it was frustrating at first, going around and meeting so many teams, and they tell you they’re going to do this and do that,” Quinn said. “When the time comes, it doesn’t work out like it’s supposed to. Once the Rams called my name, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew where my home was going to be for
As a member of one of the most talented pass-rushing drafts in recent time, Quinn watched as names such as Von Miller, J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith landed early-round selections. The disappointment, however, was short-lived, as the Rams made their selection at 14th overall.
"When my name was finally called, all of that went away,” Quinn remarked.
Despite joining St. Louis as a highly-touted prospect, the excitement surrounding Quinn’s selection apparently was not unanimous among area media outlets, a perceived snub that only added to Quinn’s competitive drive as an NFL rookie.
“When I first got drafted here, I saw some picture where they were upset that they (the Rams) drafted me,” Quinn said. “That added fuel to the fire a bit.”
Among the most fortuitous developments for Quinn came during his rookie season, when he was quickly taken under the wing of 12-year NFL defensive linemen James Hall and Fred Robbins. Hall and Robbins offered guidance to the youthful Quinn on a wide range of challenges related to life in the NFL, and the relationship with the two elder statesmen rapidly sped the learning curve for Quinn—both in his on-field performance and life away from it.
“When James Hall and Fred Robbins were here, they kind of brought me along and helped me with the business side of things and on the field. I would have liked to have been taken higher, of course. Who wouldn’t have been? It doesn’t always work out your way, but you just have to roll with the punches and make the best of your situation.”
Quinn clearly has done just that. With 10.5 sacks in his second full NFL season, Quinn established himself as one of the league’s top young pass-rushers. He built upon that reputation by breaking Kevin Carter’s franchise sack record by piling up 19 during the 2013 season, and also improved dramatically in defending the run. For his efforts, Quinn was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl appearance and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Though the path leading him to the Rams appeared less than ideal at the time, the result has been better than Quinn could have envisioned.
“Overall, I’m glad,” Quinn said. “God has a plan for everything, he works in mysterious ways, and I fell to St. Louis for a reason. I’ve been happy ever since I’ve gotten here.”