Why Undrafted?: Kelcy Quarles

Why Undrafted?: Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

For a lot of the lead up to the 2014 NFL Draft, NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock had South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles as one of his top-five defensive tackles available. It was somewhat understandable as Quarles did notch 9.5 sacks during his final collegiate season and entered the draft early.

However, NFL teams didn’t hold Quarles in the same regard that Mayock did, so Quarles went undrafted. In speaking with sources from around the league, they felt there were numerous reasons why Quarles wasn’t selected. First, they felt that his sack total was misleading as they didn’t feel he actually has good pass-rushing moves. Quarles benefited from teams sending tons of attention to Jadeveon Clowney, and Quarles was able to get a lot of good matchups. These sources also said Quarles fell into some sacks created by his teammates. He was labelled as simply not that good and in posession of inflated stats because of Clowney and good talent throughout the South Carolina defense.

Quarles (6-4, 297) was a weak run-defender, and that it was well illustrated in his final game as Wisconsin ran at him successfully throughout the day. Teams felt that he was a two-gap nose tackle, but an undersized one. Another problem for Quarles was getting into some trouble with teammate Victor Hampton right before the 2014 NFL Draft. Quarles also twice got in trouble for stealing in the locker room.

With the combination of on-the-field doubts and off-the-field problems, Quarles wasn’t selected; he ended up signing with the New York Giants. It wasn’t a bad choice as the Giants have had a track record of developing defensive linemen. However, Quarles will have a tough time making the team as the team has used two second-day picks on defensive tackles over the past two years (Jay Bromley and Johnathan Hankins). Plus, the Giants have veterans like Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins who will be tough to beat out.

Quarles is more likely auditioning for a spot on the practice squad during the preseason, plus Tom Coughlin’s tight ship won’t tolerate any behavior issues. It wouldn’t be surprising if Quarles doesn’t stick in the NFL.

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