Chapel Hill, N.C. - North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn was selected with the No. 14 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 2011 NFL Draft Thursday evening.
Quinn becomes Carolina's 19th overall first-round selection and the highest pick since defensive tackle Ryan Sims (No. 6) in 2002.
"I'm excited to be a St. Louis Ram," said Quinn.
"This is a dream come true for me and I'm looking forward to making a positive contribution to my new tam and to the St. Louis community."
"I want to thank Tar Heel fans everywhere for their support over the years and I want to especially thank and acknowledge my coaches, teammates and the entire Carolina football family as I make this transition in my life," Quinn added.
As a sophomore in 2009, Quinn earned first-team All-ACC honors and finished second in the ACC Defensive Player of the Year vote. He was a second-team All-America by CBSsports.com and was a candidate for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end.
He ranked first in the ACC and 15th in the country in tackles for losses with 19.0 and was second in the league and 16th in the nation in sacks with 11.0. Quinn did not play in 2010 after the NCAA ruled him permanently ineligible in October.
Quinn becomes the first UNC defensive end taken in the first round since Julius Peppers was chosen No. 2 by the Carolina Panthers in 2002.
Quinn is the 31st first round selection coached or recruited by Butch Davis in 10 years as a college head coach.
In St. Louis, Quinn will become teammates with former Tar Heel Jason Brown, one of the game's top centers.
"He's a great kid," said Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo. "We had him here a couple of weeks ago and he kind of meshed really well."
"We were very, very fortunate for him to be there (with the No. 14 pick)," Spagnuolo added.
"We're fortunate here in that we do have some defensive ends here that can help him out. He's got a little bit of time, but when he's ready to go he'll be thrown in there."
"(The mistakes in college) are out of character for him. This is a kid that is from a great family, and a great upbringing. He's a quality guy there. We all make mistakes. He made one. He's paid for it and he's ready to move on," Spagnuolo continued.