2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Shaquille Quarterman

August 18, 2019 1:00 AM EST

Grant Delpit Scouting Report picture

School: Miami FL

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 240

Eligibility: SR

Uniform: #55

Position: LB

Evaluated by: Austin Smith
August 18, 2019

Prospect Overview

There are not many linebackers in the country that boast the same career numbers as Quarterman. For starters, a healthy season would see him sit atop Miami history in games started (52), and consecutive games played and started (52) while tying Brandon Meriweather for games played (52). Quarterman should also jump into the top-10 for overall tackles, where he currently sits with 249. Widely regarded as one of the top linebacker recruits coming of high school, Quarterman started immediately at Miami. He recorded 84 tackles, including 10 behind the line of scrimmage and 3.5 sacks in his first year. That opening performance landed him on the All-ACC Third Team voted on by the coaches, as well as garnering awards on multiple Freshman All-America teams.

Shaquille Quarterman Scouting Report image 1

Quarterman followed up with 83 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a sophomore while batting down a career-best five passes, earning him a place on the All-ACC Second Team. As a junior in 2018, he set career-marks in tackles for loss (14), sacks (5) and collected his first career interception. Quarterman added 82 tackles and finally cracked the All-ACC First Team for his efforts. He's also a returning captain, and Quarterman's teammates and coaches rave about his leadership and character. During his time, Miami has won 26 games and been ranked as high as second in the country, including finding spots in the top-10 each year at one point or another. Now with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz taking over the reins in Coral Gables, Quarterman will help lead Miami one last time for his senior year. With another strong season, he should cement himself as one of the top linebackers in the 2020 class.


It starts with Quarterman's effort. This is a guy who seems desperate to be involved in the play, and he will take any path to the ball in the process. Quarterman is also one of the more physical prospects I've seen thus far in the 2020 class. He usually plays with good leverage, and he when arrives at the ball carrier he drives through them. Quarterman also wraps up well as a tackler. Even when taking on blocks, his aggression and physicality are impressive. There is an old saying that it's better to be the hammer than the nail, and Quarterman is usually the former.

Shaquille Quarterman Scouting Report image 2

Because of this, I believe he could handle playing on the strong side in a 4-3 scheme, although he is usually lined up at the middle linebacker position and could do so in any system. I say "usually" because Miami would occasionally bring him up into a position where Quarterman was no more than two or three yards off the line of scrimmage on the strong side, but he was in a football stance as opposed to showing like he was going to blitz. In these situations, he was usually there to take on a block.

Also, while Quarterman may not be the kind of athlete that teams covet highly in the draft process (Roquan Smith, Devin White, Devin Bush), he does have very good short-area quickness that makes him a tough player to block in the box. There are plenty of scenarios where his ability to evade blockers is impressive and allows him to make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. My initial thought was that offensive linemen are so prepared to take a shot from him that him dodging the block catches them off guard, but there is no mistaking that his initial explosion is an asset. Finally, the guy is as tough as they come, with a history of playing through injuries. He has started every game since he arrived on campus, and it hasn't always been easy. As a sophomore, he played most of the season with a shoulder injury, while his ankle gave him issues throughout the majority the year in 2018.

Areas for Improvement

As physical as Quarterman is, he can get too caught up in the initial contact and forget to play with technique. The best example of this is when he is taking on blocks. He will turn his shoulder into the blocker and make no attempt to get his arms extended in order to separate. This will make him an easy player to block for NFL linemen. You have to stay as square as possible taking on the block and upon contact, shoot your hands and keep your distance. Quarterman will need to improve in this area because it happens far too often. While we are on the topic of taking on blocks, which is a strength of his, he does need to be careful about when he chooses to dodge blocks. In pursuit, it's important to maintain a proper angle in order to have a chance at getting to the ball. When you dodge a block, it usually changes that angle. This doesn't mean that avoiding the blocker is a bad thing, but when the runner changes direction, it also alters the pursuit angle. In those instances, dodging the block can take you out of the play. What Quarterman needs to do is keep the ball-carrier in his vision throughout his pursuit, in order to understand when is appropriate to go through a blocker as opposed to around them.

Shaquille Quarterman Scouting Report image 3

The most significant area Quarterman has to get better is on passing downs. He doesn't have a lot of success rushing the passer unless the blitz design frees him up. His physical nature could help him in this area, especially when matched up with a running back. Quarterman certainly has no problem going through players, and bull-rushing his opponent could result in more success in this area. He's also limited in coverage. Quarterman doesn't have the ability to sink or flip his hips in man coverage, and while his short-area quickness can help in zone coverage, he doesn't have the acceleration to cover a significant amount of space. I'm not sure he will ever be great in coverage, but less bulk could see him gain more fluid movement in his hips. Quarterman is currently listed at six feet, one inch, and 240 pounds, so there is room to possibly shed some weight and gain the appropriate athleticism to at least be serviceable in this area.

This could also help his range against the run. Quarterman's straight-line speed will likely never be a strength, but it needs to get better. Plays to the perimeter are not just about pursuit for a linebacker. It's their job to force the play to stay to that side of the field while also closing in on the runner. Because of that, linebackers must do their best to keep their shoulders square to the line of scrimmage until it's time to commit to attacking the ball-carrier. The problem with Quarterman is he has to abandon his shuffle and turn his hips and run too soon in the process because of his lack of speed. When this happens, it opens up the possibility for the running back to cut back against the grain.

Draft Stock

Three-down linebackers are the unicorns of the NFL right now. The ability to play the run and pass equally as well is rare considering the variety of skills it takes to do so adequately. Unfortunately, Quarterman doesn't possess all those skills. He is very much an old school linebacker that is more comfortable playing physical and defending the run. He has limitations with his ability to run, but his solid instincts cover it up when the play is in or near the box. His effort helps him make plays on the perimeter, but Quarterman is not what I would consider a guy that plays sideline-to-sideline. Having said that, I still believe Quarterman can be a top-50 prospect. His leadership and character are impeccable, and he is the kind of physical tone-setter that teams love on their roster. If I were projecting where Quarterman fits best, it would be either on the inside of a 3-4 scheme or on the strong side of a 4-3. I'm not saying he can't be serviceable as the middle linebacker of a 4-3 defense, but I worry about his ability to run in that role. The strong-side linebacker may be a more limited role in the NFL, but with his ability to play on most special-teams' units, I still think Quarterman could be a highly-coveted player. On a side note, I hope he plays in the Senior Bowl. Every year, we see those players that the rest of the participants naturally follow and Quarterman is that kind of presence on the field and in the locker room. Proving that could up his value leading up to next April.

Player Comparison

I see a lot of similarities between him and Avery Williamson. Williamson was a fifth-round pick, but I feel like Quarterman is considered a better point-of-attack player and that will raise his value. However, Williamson has outstanding character, as well as solid instincts that make up for his limited athleticism. He's also continuously been a starter on the inside of a 3-4 system in the NFL, collecting nearly 500 tackles in four seasons.

Games Evaluated

vs. LSU (9-2-18)
vs. North Carolina (9-27-18)
vs. Virginia (10-13-18)
vs. Boston College (10-26-18)
vs. Duke (11-3-18)
vs. Wisconsin (12-27-18)

  • In the first three snaps I saw on the LSU tape, I instantly learned he has a nose for the ball, he is physical, and he has a desperation to be involved in the play. Those are three impressive traits for a linebacker.
  • He does show some quickness in the box, but in open space, I'm not sure he is as fluid an athlete.
  • Reacts quick based on what he sees, and diagnoses plays very quickly
  • Watching him continuously fight through traffic to get to the ball carrier is worth the price of admission. The guy just doesn't give up on plays.
  • While I question his fluidity in the open field, his straight-line speed is pretty good. He accelerates quickly and gets to top speed. May not blow anyone away with his forty-yard dash, but it won't be a liability either.
  • Has to be careful about dodging blockers. This guy has no problem taking on blocks, but there are times where he chooses to use his quickness, and while it can be effective, there are also times where he puts himself out of position.
  • When he is taking on blocks, he can't forget to bring his hands. At times, he gets caught striking, but he doesn't follow up by extending his arms to keep his separation from the blocker.
  • Usually does a good job of tackling with good leverage. Not saying he won't occasionally go high but in most cases, he gets under his opponent.
  • Somebody is going to have to drag him off the field against North Carolina. Quarterman suffered a lower-body injury late in the first half but wanted to return to start the second. After one drive, he had to be taken back out but was clearly disappointed. Miami was up by three scores at the time, and North Carolina was turning it over non-stop. There is no mistaking how badly he wants to be on that field, no matter the situation. Part of me wants him to look at the bigger picture and tone it down a notch but deep down, how can you not love that passion for the game.
  • Speaking of injuries, how tough do you have to be to play nine games with an injury to your AC joint. There are not many scenarios in which linebackers don't use their shoulders. You have to have a lot of passion for the game, and a lot of tolerance for pain to get through that.
  • Haven't seen Quarterman have a ton of success when he is accounted for on the blitz. However, he did a nice job in that scenario against Virginia. He pushed hard towards the tackles outside shoulder, before sticking his foot in the ground and redirecting inside. He used a good double-hand swat on his inside arm and met the quarterback as he was stepping up into the pocket.
  • Watching him against Boston College, the sprained ankle he suffered earlier in the year must be bothering him. He's not playing with the same relentless pursuit. He's slow to get up off the ground after tackles. Something is definitely not right, but he played the full game.
  • It's not often, but there are examples of him playing with poor gap discipline. Against Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl, he looped around to cover the backside B gap when both defensive tackles slanted hard to the strong side. Technically the end slanting to the strong side was responsible for the B gap, but when the H-back came across to the backside on a trap block, it left Quarterman responsible for the inside half of the B gap. He initially played it right, but the running back sold that he was going to continue to the strong side as opposed to cutting backside to follow the leading H-back. That caused Quarterman to freeze, and it left a gaping hole in the B where the running back went nearly untouched into the end zone.
  • His defensive tackles did him no favors at times. I get Gerald Willis had a heck of year on the stat sheet, but when your game revolves around penetration, and you don't get home, it's disastrous. Late in the year, Quarterman was often getting hit by linemen that were getting to him untouched. That's a tough situation for a linebacker to be in.

    Scouting Video Courtesy of ACC Digital Network

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