(FootballStL) -- Aside from the quarterback position, there is no more valuable commodity on a football team nowadays than a dynamite pass rusher. Putting pressure on the QB absolutely makes a defense.
Your secondary doesn't have to cover as long. Your linebackers aren't exposed as much. It's the fastest way to slow down a high powered offense.
And in the 2011 draft, former GM Billy Devaney and former head coach Steve Spagnuolo gave this franchise one of the few bright spots of their deposed regime.
A 6'4", 264 pound defensive end out of North Carolina named Robert Quinn.
He was a phenom in college (11 sacks as a sophomore in 2009) before sitting out 2010 due to allegations of receiving improper benefits from an agent. That error in judgment did not deter the Rams one bit once Quinn declared himself eligible for the April 2011 draft.
And that conviction has given them one of the premier defenders in the entire NFL.
Quinn's rookie season last year produced a modest five sacks and 23 tackles. That's pretty understandable considering he had just sat out the previous season and was a full calendar year removed from competition.
His sophomore year though so far in 2012? Wow. We're eight games in and the Ladson, South Carolina native already has seven sacks (good for ninth in the league). For those math majors that'd put him on pace for a whopping 14 this season. And, folks, he's just 22.
With Chris Long's credentials well established, this Rams team has some extraordinary pieces in place for the future at key spots. As previously mentioned, aside from quarterback, I'm not sure there's another position you'd want to start with than a pass rusher.
He's not going to win you a Super Bowl all by himself, obviously, but Robert Quinn is absolutely the type of building block this franchise needs to find more of going forward.