Today was pro day at the University of North Carolina. As one would expect, Rex Ryan is out and about, making the rounds, looking for the next star for the New York Jets. Sources at the UNC pro day reported that coach Ryan showed a great deal of interest in the top defensive lineman in the draft, Quinton Coples. So much so, that in addition to watching Coples work out as a defensive lineman, he requested his participation in linebacker drills. Clearly, Mr. Coples has caught the eye of our coach heading into his fourth year. Let’s take a look at this prospect.
Compared most directly to former lineman Julius Peppers, Quinton Coples is ranked the top defensive end in the draft. Over the past 2 seasons, Coples amassed 17.5 sacks, while being used as both defensive end and defensive tackle. Sounds a little Joe Klecko-esque doesn’t it? Too early to say that obviously. This is a clear indication of his versatility, which would bode Coples well in the Rex Ryan system. He has long arms, 33 inches to be exact, and a strong burst off the snap, which could make him a force off the edge in the NFL. And the Jets have a dire need for a pass rusher. When your leading sacker is a part time player (Aaron Maybin), you are desperate for an impact pass rusher. With the cover corners that the Jets have, an impact pass rusher would make a significant difference to the Jets’ defense.
Quinton Coples is a big guy, coming in at 6-6, 284 lbs. He had a good showing at the NFL combine, running a 4.78 in the 40 yard dash, and showing his agility with a 31.5 inch vertical jump.
His negatives are that he is a little small to be an every down tackle and only 284 pounds, although this wouldn’t dissuade the Jets much, since they have Sione Pouha, and Kenrick Ellis at the tackle position. After his good burst on the snap, it’s not clear if he has the speed to be a traditional end in tne NFL, although his reach makes up a great deal for his speed problems. His agility is good but not elite, but good enough to hold his ground and stop the run, and funnel action in the direction of his teammates.
His strongest asset is his strength. This guy can run over lineman in pursuit of the QB. When he gets his momentum going, watch out! He can pummel anyone in his path and he is strong enough that he doesn’t have to fully wrap up to make the tackle.
He would be a great addition to the NY Jets. The problem is how good he is. He is predicted, in all draft models that I have seen, to go in the top 10. The Jets are picking at #16, and Coples is supposed to be gone long before the Jets choose. The Jets will have to trade up to get him. The question is, can they? What do they have to offer? Can they get in position to acquire Coples, who would be a great addition to the NY Jets defense?