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Giants' Roster Breakdown: Kelcy Quarles, DT

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Can Kelcy Quarles join Giants' defensive tackle rotation?

Kelcy Quarles
Kelcy Quarles
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Let's continue our look at the 90-man roster that will report to training camp for the New York Giants on July 21. Today, our focus is on undrafted free agent defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.

2013 Season In Review

Quarles completed his career at South Carolina by making 39 tackles, including 13.5 for loss, and compiling 9.5 quarterback sacks.

2014 Season Outlook

The 6-foot-4, 297-pound Quarles was considered a potential Day 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but never heard his name called. Instead, he signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent. Quarles hopes to crack a defensive tackle rotation that includes Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Mike Patterson, third-round pick Jay Bromley and Markus Kuhn. Depending on health, Quarles could be competing with Kuhn for a roster spot.

Here is a scouting report from Draft Insider:

Quarles flashed ability the past two seasons and comes with upside but must consistently play at a high level and, most importantly, implement consistent fundamentals. He's a potential 3-technique tackle at the next level with starting ability if he continues to develop.

Here is another from NFL.com:

Thickly built, long-armed, talented defensive tackle who was not as consistently dominant as his numbers or accolades suggest. Has quickness, strength and enough pass-rush ability to develop into a rotational three-technique in the pros, but could have benefited from another year of SEC competition.

Finally, one from Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting:

NFL teams will love the versatility he provides upfront as a potential shade nose tackle or 3-technique across four man fronts. Doing an outstanding job of fitting his hands off the snap and bench-pressing blockers away from his frame, Quarles creates distance from the blocker to read and react at a high level. More importantly, Quarles showcases plus vision for the football and the instincts to be an every down playmaker on the defensive line.

As a backfield disruptor, it was Kelcy Quarles and not Jadeveon Clowney, who led the Gamecocks in tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (9.5) this past season. Although big and lined up most often at the 1-technique position, Quarles can win in a multitude of ways as a pass rusher. As noted earlier, Quarles displays excellent quarterback vision and read-react skills due to his arm balance or ability to play with locked out arms. Whether he’s collapsing the interior with a bull rush or disengaging with a counter move, Quarles’ game is predicated on winning the initial hand positioning off the snap.

Quarles could stand to trim up his midsection and improve his stamina, as he does not often play more than two or three consecutive series. Still, even with his top-heavy frame, I’m impressed with the lateral movement skills and balance exhibited while working off blockers. Directing the action at the point of attack, Quarles active and powerful hands enable him to consistently win one-on-one situations against the run. As for facing double teams, Quarles routinely turned his shoulders and failed to prevent movement to the second level. In these instances, I question whether or not Quarles is a true 1-technique or if his quickness and playmaking skills are best suited at the 3-technique.

If you are looking for a UDFA to come on and make the 53-man roster this season, Quarles would appear to have as good a chance as anyone. He seems like a player who may not consistently tap into the ability he possesses. If the Giants can get him to do that, perhaps they have found something here.