New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Defensive End Quinton Coples

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets first round pick, defensive end Quinton Coples

Today we come to the end of our complete breakdown of every New York Jets draft pick, by looking at first rounder Quinton Coples. In case you haven’t been paying attention, here are the links to all the previous articles. Another huge shout out to Chris Gross, TOJ’s own Mike Mayock, who didn’t leave the film room the past two weeks. 

When the New York Jets selected Quinton Coples with the 16th overall selection in this year’s NFL draft, the organization immediately found itself under heavy criticism. Many expected the Jets to trade up for DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, but when he fell to New York at 16, it was seemingly too good to be true. When the Jets opted to pass on the highly touted player out of South Carolina, the reaction was not very warm among the green and white faithful. What made the decision to pass on Ingram even worse was the scrutiny that Coples found himself under in the weeks leading up to the draft. Once regarded as the best pass rushing prospect in this year’s class, red flags regarding his character and effort level began to surface on draft boards throughout the entire nation.

However, it is an unfortunate occurrence when individuals let others decide their opinion. With several draft experts in the media declaring Coples a talented, but lazy player, unworthy of the spot he was drafted in, people adopted this opinion as their own. But on what basis were these declarations made? On what grounds do analysts have the proper footing to deem Coples a lazy, unmotivated player? For the final edition of our draft analysis here at Turn On The Jets, my primary goal in evaluating Coples was to generate a completely objective opinion. I shelved everything I had heard about him, and simply watched him as if he were any other player. Some concerns about Coples may not be totally unwarranted, however to declare this young man as a waste of a selection and label him as a guy with a bad work ethic is completely unfair.

The first characteristic that stands out on Quinton Coples when evaluating his game film is, undoubtedly, his explosiveness. Coples gets off the ball perhaps faster than any defensive player in this year’s draft class. He also plays with excellent leverage, as he demonstrates the ability to get underneath offensive lineman, which is even more impressive when considering his 6’6” stature. The majority of the time, he is very aggressive in his approach to an opponent by showing an attack first mentality. Rarely does he allow the offensive lineman to initiate the contact with him. He is adamant about striking fast, and controlling the blocker.

Along with explosion, Coples, most notably, has exceptional pass rush skills. He reads his keys extremely well, and displays tremendous ability to “run the circle.” For a defensive lineman, the ability to run the circle refers to how well the player can dip their shoulder to gain leverage on the opposing lineman, while maintaining enough speed and coordination to stay in their pass rush lane and get to the quarterback. Coples does this just as good, if not better, than anyone I have evaluated in this year’s class, including Ingram and Courtney Upshaw of Alabama.

Coples is also very versatile. During his reign at UNC, he lined up at defensive end, tackle, and even some outside linebacker. His physical tools give him the ability to move all over the field, something Rex Ryan will surely take advantage of. He is very powerful, but at the same time, is extremely agile and smooth in his movements. During his junior season, Coples played primarily defensive tackle, and registered 10 sacks. His ability to play both inside and outside on the defensive line should make his value immeasurable to a creative coach like Ryan.Although Coples effort and work ethic came into question following his senior season at North Carolina, there is not enough substantial evidence to label him anything remotely close to “lazy.” Countless times, Coples showed valiant effort in his play either by continuing to work up field on a pass rush with double moves, spin techniques, or an extra push, or on run plays where he repeatedly screamed down the line of scrimmage chasing runs away from his side of the field.

The knocks on Coples being inconsistent are generally the only ones that I found to be true. There are times during games when he does not consistently play at a high level. However, there are several factors that are rarely considered as to why this happens. The first, and probably most obvious, is that regardless of the player, it is just about impossible to maintain an elite level of production on every single play. Secondly, with the immense amount of success Coples had during his junior year, coupled with the threat his physical abilities make him to opposing offenses, teams clearly game planned around him last season. There were numerous plays in which Coples faced double, and even triple, teams last year. It is very likely that #90 was circled on every offensive game plan among North Carolina’s opponents in 2011. A player like Coples needs to be accounted for at all times, because if he is not, it can cost coordinators and coaches their jobs.

Another very important factor that may have played into Coples inconsistency was the amount of turmoil that the North Carolina football program faced during his time as a Tar Heel. Besides the heavy amount of negative publicity and suspensions the team was dealt within the past two years, Coples also had the unfortunate burden of playing for four different position coaches in each of his four years with the program. It is very difficult for a player to get comfortable and gain consistency when there is no stability whatsoever. The fact that he still was able to perform at a level high enough for him to be considered one of the best, if not the best, defensive lineman in the draft should speak volumes to his character, rather than tarnish it. Granted, the argument can be made that as a division I scholarship athlete, there should be no excuses like these, but it is often forgotten that these players are simply kids. Instability within a program can be detrimental to a young man.

With all of that being said, I still did not find enough substantial evidence to consider Coples a “lazy” player. He is ferocious off the ball, chases plays down, and has great tenacity. He even showed enough of a motor in the Virginia Tech game last year to have ESPN analyst, Jesse Palmer refer to him as a “high effort player.” To me, it is a mystery as to where the claims on Coples’ motor came from. Inconsistent, perhaps, but the bottom line is that he shows passion in his play and gets after it far more often than not.

Coples’ largest challenge as a Jet is going to be earning the love and respect of the fans. Although it is completely out of his hands, the choice by New York to pass on the highly regarded Ingram for Coples will be criticized until he lets his play speak for him. He needs to come out of the gate in a dash and keep his foot on the pedal without a second of hesitation. He will most likely be compared to Ingram, at least for this season, in terms of production and quality of play. Coples needs to show why Rex Ryan and the Jets have so much faith in him, and everyone in New York will soon forget about all of the other defensive players taken following the 16th pick.

Coples true character should show early in the season. One would expect a player as highly criticized as he has been to come out with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove all of his doubters wrong. Expect Coples to display high energy, tenacity, and motor from the moment he takes the field this season. If he does anything else, then, and only then, will it be time to raise the red flags.

As far as his role with the Jets, Rex Ryan has already declared that he will see the majority of defensive snaps this season. While this is not necessarily a statement I am too fond of, for a player should have to earn that type of recognition, it is certainly something that needs to be done. Coples is far too big, strong, athletic, and versatile to be wasting time on the sidelines. He needs to play immediately and prove his worth as the 16th overall selection. Rex will certainly utilize his abilities to the highest degree. Expect to see Coples in a vast amount of packages, primarily at defensive end, while sliding all over on passing situations. Ryan feels he can get double-digit sack production out of Coples, and based on the UNC product’s abilities, there is no reason to think otherwise. Consistency of play is going likely going to be the most important factor in his success.

New York Jets: Building Towards A 4-3 Defense

The New York Jets are putting the pieces in place to spend more time in the 4-3 this season

Rex Ryan has never been hesitant about using a variety of defensive looks since becoming the head coach of the New York Jets. However, they have predominantly been a 3-4 team. After a disappointing 2011 season, it appears the Jets will looking to use more 4-3 alignments this season and will be looking for different things out of a few key players in their system.

Surprisingly, defensive line has developed into the deepest position on the Jets roster. They have one of the best nose tackles in football in Sione Pouha, a promising second year player in Muhammad Wilkerson and one of the league’s better run stoppers in Mike DeVito. Behind them, Marcus Dixon was very good off the bench last year at both defensive end and defensive tackle. Last year’s third round pick Kenrick Ellis has the physical potential to be a force inside and Martin Tevaseau is a capable rotation player. Finally, they surprised many by selecting defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round.

On the other hand, the Jets have many questions at linebacker outside of David Harris. Calvin Pace is coming off his worst season with the team and appears to have lost his burst getting after the quarterback. Bart Scott is also coming off his worst season with the team and is a major liability on passing downs. Bryan Thomas is going to be 33 years old and is coming off major surgery. Aaron Maybin is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker and is predominantly just a pass rush threat. Demario Davis has plenty of potential but is ultimately still a third round rookie.

Outside of Maybin (who is built like a safety), the Jets have asked their linebackers to lose weight and improve their speed. Pace and Thomas are going to spend more time being pure linebackers instead of having different formations where they put their hand in the dirt because the Jets have enough capable defensive lineman.

It is a smart move by Rex Ryan to cater his defense to his depth chart. These is no need to fit square pegs in round holes. You play to your strengths and the Jets strength should be their defensive line more so than their linebackers. Ryan wisely hired a defensive line coach in Karl Dunbar, who was coaching a 4-3 in Minnesota to help with this adjustment. The Jets have a versatile front with most players being able to slide between defensive tackle and defensive end. Ryan should be able to send out a myriad of lineups that could both stop the run and rush the passer.

For example, a line-up with DeVito and Pouha at defensive tackle with Coples and Wilkerson at end, should be capable against the run while still getting push to the quarterback. On third downs, you could slide Coples inside to defensive tackle, bring Aaron Maybin in at end and then replace Bart Scott with Demario Davis or an extra safety to get after the quarterback.

Regardless of what the Jets de facto starting line-up ends up being, expect to see four to five defensive lineman getting major reps throughout the game while a player like Bryan Thomas could end up playing less than 50% of the snaps. It is also hard to see a scenario where Pace and Scott don’t see a decline in their reps.

The Jets strength on defense is cornerback and defensive line, Rex Ryan should be smart enough to build his game-plans around these two positions.

New York Jets Rookie Mini Camp Report

Chris Gross on the five most important takeaways from New York Jets rookie minicamp

We let Chris Gross out of the film room long enough to break down five key points from the New York Jets rookie mini-camp. Check back tomorrow for his breakdown of safety Josh Bush and then throughout the week for our closer look at DeMario Davis, Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples.

1.) DeMario Davis needs to continue leading. Rex Ryan and the Jets’ coaching staff raved not only over Davis’s tremendous speed, but also how vocal and assertive he proved to be during team drills. While this is exactly what you want from one of your linebackers, Davis needs to prove that he can be just as confident and vocal when the veterans come into camp. It is often natural for guys to feel comfortable around their peers, however, the true test will come when respected and established players line up alongside Davis. Ryan has compared his demeanor and confidence to that of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis’s. He needs to not be afraid to step on anyone’s toes, and just continue to be himself. This will be key to his development and success this season.

2.) Don’t get your hopes up on Robert T. Griffin. Griffin has generated some interesting buzz coming out of rookie mini camp. He reportedly has been quite impressive to coaches and media alike. While I am not doubting Griffin’s potential, it is simply foolish for anyone to declare him in competition for playing time after three days of non contact drills. It is not difficult for offensive lineman, especially those with size comparable to Griffin’s, to look decent while scrimmaging without pads on. As we previously noted here at Turn On The Jets, Griffin is a long way from being a productive NFL lineman. He will not be the solution to New York’s Right Tackle situation anytime soon.

3.) No Surprises. Out of all the stories that came out of training camp, one that should not have come as a surprise to anyone is Stephen Hill’s impressive display of speed and size. We all know the physical ability of Hill, so it shouldn’t be shocking that he stood out during the weekend long camp. What will be interesting to see is how he plays when he eventually gets reps against the Jets’ first team corners in training camp. It will benefit Hill greatly to be able to compete against two of the best corners in the league in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie during practice.

4.) Let Him Play! After an impressive first day of camp, first round selection Quinton Coples was told by coaches to sit out of team drills. While this was most likely a ploy for the coaches to fairly evaluate the tryout players who were overmatched by Coples, they have to be careful with this approach. For a player who has been labeled lazy at times, perhaps a bit unfairly, the last thing he needs in his quest to earn respect is for his peers to see the coaches pampering him by giving him rest, while they are all on the field working. Again, I’m sure this is not too big a deal, but New York needs to be careful not to turn their newest pass rusher into a prima donna.

5.) The Headline Grabber. In typical New York Jets fashion, the team was highly discussed on Sunday and Monday due to the signing of QB Matt Simms, son of New York Giants great Phil Simms. The Jets simply have too many holes on the roster to carry four quarterbacks. We all know Sanchez and Tebow aren’t going anywhere, and Greg McElroy is light-years ahead of Simms as an NFL Quarterback. At best, Simms provides a body through training camp, and then lands a practice squad deal for the season. This is seemingly a move consisting of Mike Tannenbaum being Mike Tannenbaum and generating that coveted buzz that he appears to enjoy so much.

New York Jets: Rookie Mini-Camp Is Time To Feel Good

The early returns on the Jets top draft picks were positive, but let’s not get carried way

The New York Jets, not unlike many other teams in the NFL, had rave reports about their rookies and how they performed at mini-camp over the past weekend. DeMario Davis is the next Ray Lewis. Stephen Hill was a man among boys. Quinton Coples had six sacks in a single practice.

This isn’t a criticism of Rex Ryan’s effusive praise or the fan’s excitement about new players. Every team around the NFL is taking part in the same practice right now. Robert Griffin III has already been crowned Sonny Jurgensen by a Washington writer. You would think the Colts are improving from Peyton Manning in his prime this season with Andrew Luck under center. And Ryan Tannehill apparently threw some of the prettiest 10 yard out routes ever seen on tryout NFL players not wearing equipment.

The point is not to get carried away. Should you be excited about DeMario Davis because he is fast and seems to have natural leadership skills? Yes. Should you be fantasizing about 90 yard Stephen Hill touchdown receptions? I know I am. But as Bill Parcells used to say after a particular player was being hyped a little too much early in his career, “let’s not put him in Canton yet.”

Let’s see how the rookies handle the veterans and full contact practices, then let’s see them making plays in the pre-season, then let’s see them playing when it really counts. I do think that Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples will start this year. I’d be surprised if DeMario Davis wasn’t in a number of defensive packages and a special teams ace but they all have a long way to go.

In case you weren’t keeping track, here are the player comparisons we have heard so far for prominent Jets rookies –

Coples – Trevor Pryce, Shaun Ellis, Muhammad Wilkerson

Hill – Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Keith Jackson

Davis – Ray Lewis, Bart Scott

And our very own at TOJ, from the rookies Chris Gross and myself have reviewed

Jordan White – Jerricho Cotchery

Antonio Allen – James Ihedigbo

Terrance Ganaway – A quicker Shonn Greene (hopefully).

New York Jets Rookie Camp – The Path To Playing Time

How can the 2012 New York Jets draft picks find themselves playing time this season?

The New York Jets eight draft picks and a large collection of undrafted free agents and tryout players will gather for a mini-camp this weekend. Focusing down on the eight draft picks, what will it take for each of them to receive playing time this season? Who will be their primary competition? Let’s take a closer look –

Quinton Coples – Regardless of whether Coples starts at defensive end or not, he is going to see substantial reps on the defensive line rotation particularly on third downs. In a way Marcus Dixon, Kenrick Ellis and Mike DeVito are competing for playing time with him but in reality Coples has a much different skill set than all three and will likely be used in many unique ways by Rex Ryan. Ideally, at a minimum Coples is a pass rushing specialist this year and then sees the rest of his game develop in the coming years.

Stephen Hill – Unless he bombs out in the pre-season, Hill will be the opening day starter at split end. He has too much speed and size to keep on the bench. Chaz Schilens and Patrick Turner will be competing to be his backup but shouldn’t see anywhere near the amount of playing time Hill does this season.

DeMario Davis – Outside of Aaron Maybin, Davis will be the fastest of the Jets linebackers. While I do not think we will see him in a starting role this season unless there is an injury, he should fill in for Bart Scott at inside linebacker in certain packages and could also line up at outside linebacker for Bryan Thomas to utilize his ability to cover the tight end. He will be competing with players like Josh Mauga, Nick Bellore and Garret McIntyre but considering his skill set and where the Jets drafted him, I’d look for Davis to both make the roster and be a regular contributor on defense.

Josh Bush – Bush’s skill set make him the most natural free safety on the Jets roster. Unless he is beat out by Tracy Wilson or DeAngelo Smith, he should immediately contribute in a handful of defensive packages and be the top backup to Eric Smith who is technically the team’s free safety even though he is miscast in that role.

Terrance Ganaway – He will be competing with Bilal Powell to be active on a weekly basis and then competing with Joe McKnight and Shonn Greene for playing time. His comfort of playing in an option offense makes him an immediate candidate to be a factor on offense when Tim Tebow is under center. Don’t be surprised if Ganaway ends up contributing a few hundred yards of offense this season.

Robert T. Griffin – As our breakdown later in the day will show, Griffin has a long, long way to go before becoming a contributor on a NFL team. This season he will compete with Caleb Schlauderaff and Austin Howard for a spot on the active roster. However, it is much more likely he will end up on the practice squad.

Antonio AllenMake sure you click the link to read Chris Gross’ full breakdown of Allen, who should end up being LaRon Landry’s backup this season, a contributor as a blitzer and play special teams. I’d be surprised to see a journeyman like Tracy Wilson or DeAngelo Smith beat him out.

Jordan WhiteMake sure you click the link to read Chris Gross’ full breakdown of White. He will compete with Patrick Turner and Eron Riley for a roster spot and projects to backing up Jeremy Kerley in the slot if he can make the roster.

The Problem With Drafting Quinton Coples

TOJ looks at the problem with taking Quinton Coples in the first round of the NFL Draft

If you couldn’t tell last night, I was not happy about the Quinton Coples selection. Staff writer Chris Gross has me feeling a little better about it this morning but I still have many reservations, so let me explain why.

I love Rex Ryan as head coach and I like Mike Tannenbaum as a General Manager. Both individuals have been successful more than they have not since becoming employed by the New York Jets. However, part of what makes them good at their jobs is also what leads them to making occasional poor personnel decisions. Lately, the poor personnel decisions have been outnumbering the smart ones.

They are both head strong, stubborn individuals which leads to overestimation of talent and belief in their ability to salvage any situation. We have seen Tannenbaum neglect the offensive line, believing they would be okay with Anthony Clement and Adrien Clarke starting in 2007 instead renegotiating with Pete Kendall and signing a right tackle. He repeated the mistake last year by letting Damien Woody walk, installing backup Wayne Hunter as a starter and then finding no depth behind his starting offensive line.

Since Rex has taken over, he espouses the belief that he can make any player or situation work in his locker room and we have seen Tannenbaum’s draft and free agency mistakes gradually increase. What I am talking about? Let’s review the past couple of years –

–  Taking Division I-AA lineman Vladimir Ducasse in the 2nd round, switching his position immediately and expecting him to start. Ducasse has given the team nothing through 2 years.

– Bringing Derrick Mason into the locker room when he had a history of causing problems. Mason caused problems.

– Signing Plaxico Burress over brining Braylon Edwards back. Burress couldn’t get open in between the 20s and caused problems in the locker room.

– To a lesser extent, Rex pushing for another corner in round one back in 2010 when it wasn’t an area of need as the Jets took Kyle Wilson. Through two years, he has been average at best and made one impact play (an interception last year against San Dieg0). While it is too early to fully judge him, it is fair to be disappointed with his production thus far. Rex also went crazy for John Conner in the 5th round of the same draft and we have seen Conner be average at best last year when given a full time role (watch the tape).

– Last year the Jets took Kenrick Ellis in the third round. He basically redshirted his rookie year because he was nowhere near ready to play.

These recent choices factor in my judgement of the Coples selection. The Jets are coming off a poor off-season last year which led directly to a 8-8 record. They have many holes in a roster that currently resembles that of a 7-9 team, not a 10 or 11 win team ready to compete with New England. It was a smug decision to draft Coples. It was a decision that says, “we are a player or two away and we can risk it on a boom or bust prospect.”

What you need to remember is that Coples is a defensive end, not an outside linebacker. The team has already confirmed he will play with his hand in the dirt and compete with Mike DeVito for the starting end position. Instead of addressing a glaring area of need at outside linebacker, safety, right tackle, wide receiver or running back by drafting that spot or trading back to acquire picks to fill all those holes, the Jets drafted at a position where they had two capable starters (Wilkerson and DeVito and two capable backups (Dixon and Pitoitua). Beyond that, last year’s third round pick Kenrick Ellis was supposed to see reps at defensive end along with nose tackle, which he won’t have the chance to do as much anymore.

So what do you do now? Do you trade/cut Mike DeVito, start Coples and let your run defense suffer? Or do you have Coples be a rotational player on passing downs, where he would likely be most effective? Unfortunately, the Jets needed more than a rotational player in the first round, they needed a 3 down player.

The questions about Coples effort and motor are maddeningly frustrating to hear. However, if the proper veterans (Sione Pouha) stay on him and he is coached properly (pressure on Rex and DL coach Karl Dunbar), the talent Coples has is unquestionable. On physical attributes alone, he is the best pass rushing prospect in the draft. I do believe he has the skill set to be a double digit sack guy. I also believe he has the potential to be a complete non-factor this year.

The question is why do Rex and Tannenbaum need to keep rolling the dice? Why take the player with effort/attitude issues at a position where he could struggle to get reps on your roster when you could have taken a comparable player without the effort/attitude issues at a position of need? It is stubborn. It is headstrong. It is smug. It is Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum in a nutshell. The approach worked in 2009 and 2010 but came up empty last year. Let’s hope this spin of the roulette wheel ends up on the Jets number.

A Positive Analysis Of Quinton Coples

Chris Gross gives a positive analysis of New York Jets first round pick Quinton Coples

Our resident defensive lineman and staff writer Chris Gross breaks down Quinton Coples and comes out with a more positive feeling than I have about the pick – JC

With the 16th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets shockingly passed on coveted prospect Melvin Ingram for Defensive End Quinton Coples out of North Carolina. As the pick was announced, analysts and fans frantically began to point out why this was a terrible decision by the Jets. How could New York be so lucky to have Ingram fall into their laps and then opt to pass on him? To make matters worse, the Jets selected a player who arguably had more question marks surrounding him than anyone else they had reportedly been interested in.

The common flaws linked to Coples are that he does not posses the high motor, killer instinct, and relentlessness needed to be a dominant defensive lineman in the NFL. As many of these contentions may be true, they also are a bit exaggerated. There are, in fact, times in games when Coples seems unmotivated and takes plays off, but these moments are not as plentiful as they are perceived to be.

Game evaluation of Coples reveals him to be many things as a player. He is extremely big (nearly 6’6” 284 lbs), and uses that size to his advantage. Coples utilizes his hands and length very well. His reach allows him to create the separation between offensive linemen necessary for him to take control and dictate what he is going to do. He has a fantastic burst off the ball, among the best at his position, and closes the gap just as fast as any defensive lineman in the draft this year. Coples is also phenomenal against the reach block, displaying excellent ability to get his head to the outside and force every play back in. Very rarely is he caught out of position, giving up the edge.

In terms of his pass rush, Coples has fantastic maneuverability. He shows great bend and ability to dip his shoulder on his rushes, causing serious problems for any guard or tackle trying to block him. He displays excellent strength and explosion, having repeatedly run through blockers at the point of attack last year in his pursuit of the quarterback, while also showing ability to execute a double move, if necessary. He can do it with speed, strength, and technique, an immeasurable combination in a defensive lineman. Along with that, Coples plays with a serious mean streak at times shown through his aggressive style of play.

So, the obvious question is, why the harsh reaction to the pick? Although many of the negative assertions about Coples are exaggerated, they are not false. At times, Coples does take plays off and can appear lazy on the field. He tends to lose discipline, sometimes getting caught too far up field, allowing open running lanes on draws and screens underneath him. However, these flaws are nowhere near as frequent as assumed. These are aspects of his game, and character that do need to be worked on at the next level, but with an elite defensive coaching staff in New York, as well as quality veteran leadership in Sione Pouha on the defensive line, Coples can certainly eliminate them in his development.

During his senior year at UNC, Coples also suffered a drop in numbers from his junior season. In 2010, he compiled 10 sacks, while in 2011, that number fell to just 7.5. However, like any position in football, when a player has success, teams will notice that and begin to account for him. During his senior year, Coples drew the attention of every offense North Carolina faced, and for good reason. During the Miami game, in particular, the Hurricanes’ slid their pass protection to Coples nearly 100% of the time, while scheming double teams to account for him on run plays. This was very common among all of Coples’ opponents during his senior year, which was a great cause for his decreased statistics. Remember, a drop in numbers is not necessarily equivalent to a drop in production at any position along the defensive line. There are countless intangibles and contributions that do not show up in the stat line.

Along with the drop in his numbers, Coples has also somehow gotten the reputation of a selfish player. There have been several reports that he developed a “me first” attitude during his time at North Carolina. However, during his junior season, when multiple members of the Tar Heels’ defense were suspended for the year, Coples was asked to play more time at Defensive Tackle, rather than his natural Defensive End position, to account for the lack of depth. Coples did not complain, just simply went out, played, and tallied 10 total sacks that year. Prototypical “selfish” players usually don’t make such sacrifices and perform at a level like that.

The claim that Coples lacks effort, as I said, is exaggerated, yet realistic. In stretches, he has a habit of catching blockers, rather than attacking them off of the ball like he usually does. Although, these plays seem much more common late in games and at the end of long drives, which suggests that it may be more of a conditioning issue, rather than an attitude issue. This seems to make more sense, because the majority of the time, Coples does actually play with valiant effort and high motor. On one play in particular against North Carolina State in 2010, Coples chased down QB Russell Wilson on a 50 yard run, before he was forced out of bounds inside the 10. Normally, “lazy” players aren’t seen chasing anyone down from behind.

Other than his play, the largest factor that contributes to the idea that Coples was a bad pick for the Jets is that Melvin Ingram was still on the board. The common thought among Jets fans was that Ingram was the best option for New York in the first round, and to be able to stay at 16 and get him would be a huge victory. Passing on Ingram was most likely going to be an unpopular move by the Jets, so anyone else drafted in that spot was going face heavy scrutiny.

The bottom line on Coples is simple: He certainly has some question marks, but also has shown he can be a dominant football player, and his superior size and athleticism give him tremendous upside. Remember, this is the same player who drew comparisons to Julius Peppers following his junior season. If there is one coach capable of maximizing his talent and turning him into an asset in the NFL, it is Rex Ryan. Ryan, along with the veteran defensive leadership in Pouha, David Harris, and Darrelle Revis, could be just the supporting cast Coples needs to develop into a force in this league for years to come.

New York Jets Draft Quinton Coples

The New York Jets drafted UNC defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round of the NFL Draft

With Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, Courtney Upshaw and David DeCastro still on the board. The New York Jets continued their perplexing off-season by selecting North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples. Of all the pass rushers on the board, Coples had the most question marks about him and does not have the versatility to play major reps at outside linebacker. Both Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan confirmed Coples will play defensive end. He is a guy who displayed an unnerving lack of motor and passion for the game of football. Sound familiar?

Here are some excerpts of the draft reports on him leading up to draft day. Keep in mind, Coples play dropped off substantially from his senior year to his junior year. –

“Played not to get hurt. Not an elite pass rusher from the edge. Motor runs hot and cold”

“Has developed a me-first reputation”

“Marginal competitor. Does not apply himself. Lacks the heart, desire and glass eating makeup desired in the trenches and must ratchet up the intensity if he wants to play against the big boys in the pros”

Now there is a reason Coples was a first round prospect. He was a beast in his junior year (10 sacks) and had a monster senior week. He has strong explosiveness and has very good interior pass rushing moves. The reason the Jets are going to keep him on the defensive line primarily is because he will be more effective sliding between defensive end and defensive tackle on some passing downs.

What is frustrating is that Rex Ryan continually compared Coples to Shaun Ellis or Trevor Pryce, which is exactly what he did with Muhammad Wilkerson, last year’s first round pick. Coples is a defensive end and will hopefully be a good one but now that leaves the Jets will three defensive ends (look for Mike DeVito to be on the trade block), but still major questions at OLB, RT, FS, WR, and RB. Similar to free agency, the Jets have ignored their major holes and added to a position where they had capable starters.

More to come…