Photo of Quentin Groves
Grade
?
  • 4.57 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 120.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 4.42 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 6'3" Height
  • 250LBS. Weight

Overview

An athlete blessed with incredible quickness coming off the edge, dislocated toes did what no other offensive lineman could do in 2007 - stop Quentin Groves. Those who witnessed his performance in the South Florida game last year realize that this is a player that needs to be unleashed on the football field to get maximum production from his tremendous athletic ability.

Drawing comparisons to Dallas' DeMarcus Ware, Groves will probably shift to outside linebacker in the professional ranks. He received a crash course at that position late in his senior campaign and even earned a start at left outside linebacker in the Tennessee Tech game. With his tall, muscular physique, excellent speed, outstanding change of direction agility and superb body control as a pass rusher, NFL quarterbacks will soon have to contend with one of the most disruptive backfield penetrators in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Groves is an affable sort, frequently smiling and cracking jokes. But the Auburn defensive end does have one group of guys he just doesn't care for: quarterbacks. "I just really don't have a liking for them," Groves said. "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."

Luckily for him, his primary job for the Tigers the past four seasons has been to harass and hit opposing quarterbacks. And that's something he has done well enough to earn All-American and All-Southeastern Conference honors as he went on to tie Auburn's 22-year-old career record of 26 sacks held by Gerald Robinson.

At Greenville-Weston High School, Groves earned USA Today All-USA second-team, Prep Star and Super Prep All-Region, Orlando Sentinel Super Southern 100, Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen and that newspaper's All-State honors as a senior. He was also rated the third-best defensive end in the country by Prep Football Report and ESPN.com.

Groves started all four seasons with the varsity and finished his senior season with 86 tackles, 22 sacks and three fumble recoveries. He also played tight end and caught three passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, he posted 89 tackles, 15 sacks, one interception and forced seven fumbles. He also lettered in basketball, competed in the discus and long jump in track and was a member of the power lifting team.

Groves enrolled at Auburn in 2003, seeing brief action in the season opener vs. Southern California and vs. Western Kentucky before he was redshirted. He finished that year with three tackles (2 assists). The following season, Groves earned Freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News, Rivals.com and the Football Writers Association.

Despite sharing left defensive end duties with Doug Langenfeld and Stanley McClover, Groves led the team with 7.5 sacks and 10 stops for losses as a reserve left defensive end. He posted 23 tackles (19 solos) in 13 games, adding four quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles. What made those figures even more impressive was the fact that he was nursing a right high ankle sprain that he suffered in fall camp. His performance earned him team Most Improved Defensive Lineman honors.

In 2005, Groves started three of 12 games at right defensive end, picking up third-team All-Southeastern Conference accolades. He registered 21 tackles (8 solos), ranking third on the team with six sacks and fourth with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused a fumble, deflected a pass and returned a kickoff 13 yards.

The 2006 off-season was one that Groves would just as soon forget. He was placed on probation after he was in a car accident with no auto insurance and a suspended license. He was also arrested after police responded to a domestic dispute call. Back on the football field, he started all 13 games at right defensive end, picking up All-American third-team and All-SEC first-team honors.

As a junior, Groves led the Tigers with 9.5 sacks and ranked second on the squad with 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He totaled 35 tackles (24 solos) with seven quarterback pressures and also caused three fumbles.

Groves, who is married and has already graduated, opted to return for his senior season after being projected as a likely middle-round pick in the NFL Draft. The chance to move up in the draft and land a big contract had plenty to do with the decision. There were other motivations, too. "It was a money thing, and I wanted to win a championship with my teammates," Groves said. "I felt like if I came back here, we had a good chance to go to Atlanta and compete for an SEC title."

Named to Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Hendricks Award preseason watch lists, Groves was having a banner 2007 campaign until he suffered dislocated toes on his right foot in the season's fifth game vs. Florida. The injury cost him two games of action and when he returned, he was used mostly in a reserve role before starting at left outside linebacker vs. Tennessee Tech after playing left defensive end in the Tigers' first five contests. He also closed out his career by starting vs. Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl at left end.

In 11 games in 2007, Groves registered 38 tackles (23 solos). He had three sacks, seven stops for losses and led the Southeastern Conference with a career-high 23 quarterback pressures. He also caused a pair of fumbles, including one that a teammate returned for a touchdown.

In 51 games at Auburn, Groves started 23 contests (16 at right end, six at left end and one at left outside linebacker). He registered 120 tackles (75 solos), tied the school career-record with 26 sacks for minus-169 yards and had 36 stops for losses of 194 yards. He was credited with 38 quarterback pressures, caused eight fumbles and deflected one pass.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: 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...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 (needs to keep his man's mitts off his jersey, though)...Has the lateral range to slide and avoid in-line trouble (struggles to take on and shed, however)...Needs to be more consistent using his lateral moves, but he is able to get down the line of scrimmage and close suddenly from the back side...Moves well to contain the toss sweep and is very quick to counter and change direction...Explosive wrap-up tackler who delivers pop on contact, doing a nice job of attacking the runner's outside leg to impede the ballcarrier's forward progress...Fun to watch making tackles in the open field, as he willingly hurls his body at the opponent...Has the athletic agility to adjust and finish on his own in space...Consistently turns the corner, flashing the burst and explosiveness needed to close on the quarterback...His knee bend flexibility lets him make the turn, redirect and dip back under when he slips past the offensive tackle...Has the ability to consistently pressure the pocket and uses his hands well to gain position...Even though he can be controlled by offensive linemen when he's reached, he is active with his hands, showing an explosive pop to separate and shed...Has a very impressive wing span and uses it well to yank smaller blockers and ball carriers to the ground...Active with his hands, especially when trying to rip and pull...Has the short area balance to turn the corner and chase down the play on the move...With his great forward burst, he closes in a flash, wrapping and exploding into the quarterback. Negatives: 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). 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.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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