This series asks a few more detailed questions about the newest Redskins. This year I had the pleasure of asking the writers at Streaking The Lawn about a Redskins UDFA signing. Paul Guttman gave us some great information regarding new Redskin S Quin Blanding.
Cadillactica: Quin Blanding was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school. Is it fair to say he didn’t quite live up to expectations at Virginia despite his production? Why is that if so? Virginia’s defensive scheme? his responsibilities in it?
Paul Guttman: I don’t think it’s fair to say he didn’t live up to expectations. Blanding was a tremendous performer for the Hoos. His production was amazing, but he was also a big-time team leader. Not to mention he started every game of his 4 years and he rarely came off the field.
Cadillactica: I fully expected Quin to be drafted - I was thinking somewhere in the 4th or 5th rounds but surprisingly he wasn’t - do you view him as an UDFA that can push to make the final 53 on a team? The Redskins are set with their starting safety pair but how far do you think he can go? Could he be a starting safety eventually?
Paul Guttman: I do think that Quin could make the team. Right now, his best fit is on special teams as he develops his game.
Cadillactica: If you had to take a guess why is it you think he didn't get drafted? His production is there and we did see a few safeties with limited production get drafted. Was there another factor?
Paul Guttman: Speed, or rather his lack of it. That’s the reason. He ran a 4.63, which is slower than every DB who was drafted. His other combine results weren’t great either, though he injured his hamstring during the combine. If he’d bettered the numbers during UVA’s pro day, maybe that would’ve helped. He participated only in position drills at the Pro Day.
Cadillactica: Blanding had nearly 500 tackles in his career and 10 interceptions as well. Its clear he would probably operate best out of the box considering his size and nose for the ball but he also isn’t terrible in coverage - where do you think his best fit is in the NFL? Could you foresee any sort of hybrid LB role for him?
Paul Guttman: I do think that a hybrid LB is his best position. As mentioned above, he’s probably too slow to play DB in a base defense. But as an LB/S hybrid, he could have a role. He’d probably have the bulk up a bit though.
Cadillactica: Can you tell us about Quin as a player and a teammate? I imagine a guy like that who is always around the ball motivates the defense and all of his teammates. How does he make a team better? What is his football IQ like?
Paul Guttman: It’s hard to be sure as an outsider, but reports certainly indicated that he was a team leader. He was also the so-called “QB of the defense” for most of his career. His football IQ is off the charts, which is why he was able to rack up all those tackles even with his overall lack of athleticism. He made the team better by always being the right place and by making great reads. Watch a highlight reel of his. He’s breaking to where the ball is going before the snap. That’s his game.
Cadillactica: If you had to describe his in one word or short phrase what would it be?
Paul Guttman: Tough. As mentioned above, he started every game and rarely came off the field.
I want to thank Paul again for this Q&A. Personally, it’s difficult for me to get a completely firm read on Blanding. He had no shortage of tackle production in college but still for some reason I expected more especially in terms of passes defended and interceptions from a guy who came into college with his projection. I do think he is an absolute steal as an UDFA and would count on him having the highest chance of all the UDFA’s to make the team. He seems to have real passion for the game and will clearly do what is asked of him. He should be a great special team player at minimum I think.