Draft Scout Snapshot: While locker room dissension was the popular explanation as to why the Jets cratered last season, the continued aging of a once-potent defense was at least partially to blame for the fall to .500. The Jets made some immediate upgrades in head coach Rex Ryan's area of expertise by spending three of their first four picks on defensive players in the draft. The Jets, who recorded just 35 sacks last year while allowing 363 points, addressed their pass rush by selecting defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round (16th overall) and outside linebacker Demario Davis in the third round. The Jets also added valuable depth to a thin and injury-prone secondary by picking safety Josh Bush in the sixth round. BEST PICK: Defensive end Quinton Coples: Comes with his share of detractors after a relatively quiet senior season, but the instant connection between Rex Ryan and Coples at the latter's Pro Day bodes well for Ryan's ability to get the most out of Coples, who had 17.5 sacks in his last two years at North Carolina. The Jets badly need a legitimate pass rusher and Coples could become the first Jets player to record double-digit sacks since John Abraham since 2005. - The Sports Xchange
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If size, strength and 33-inch arms can somehow be a blessing and a curse for a defensive lineman, then Coples fits the bill.
He racked up 17.5 sacks the past two seasons while seeing time at end and tackle, yet arrived at the Scouting Combine dogged by questions about his inconsistency and a perception that his motor doesn't run at 100 percent on every play.
"You know, I'm a big guy. I'm a long-strider, things of that nature, so where it may come fast to me in a game, on film it's slowing down a little bit," Coples said. "People have their own opinions. Some people don't even think it was a problem. So it's different opinions and you just go for what it is."
The North Carolina coaching staff asked Coples to slide inside to tackle in the middle of 2011, a move he originally resisted. But the 30 pounds he has added since joining the Tar Heels program showed as he finished with 59 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
The move allowed him to show off his versatility, but also created some question as to where Coples will fit best in NFL schemes. Despite his success inside last year, Coples' height, long arms and burst off the snap could make him a real force off the edge.
"I take pride in being versatile," he said. "It definitely has raised my stock in that it lets teams know that I can inside or out.
"I'm definitely prepared for whatever defensive scheme that a team has."
Wherever teams project Coples, he is the most physically gifted defensive lineman in this draft - rated the top defensive endl prospect by NFLDraftScout.com - and enjoyed a strong week at the Senior Bowl.
"I heard the rumors and all the things that were going on about me not playing as hard, so I took it personally," Coples said of his Senior Bowl experience. "And I made a statement for myself that I can compete outside of the ACC and all across the country."
It's not Coples' physical skills that are holding him back from an even higher draft grade. The questions about his propensity to disappear from the stat sheet for stretches at a time wasn't helped by the perception that he resisted the move back to tackle last season for fear that it would hurt his draft stock.
"A lot of people have a lot of high expectations for me, and I appreciate that," Coples said. "But when you're playing the game of football, you have things that happen that don't go as planned. I think it was a situation that happened that I learned from, I matured from, and I think I'll reap the benefits at the next level."
Coples said he's his own harshest critic, so he can handle the negative things said about him. And he claims to be ready to take on the duties of starring in the NFL.
"To be a professional and to be great you have to work hard all the time," he said. "And do those small things that I did, but didn't master like I think I should."
Pass rush: Good burst off the snap, but his speed and flexibility to dip and rip around the edge as a traditional right defensive end isn't certain. Powerful. Has an excellent bull rush and uses his long arms to keep offensive linemen away from his body to dictate the action. Doesn't possess elite lateral agility or closing speed, but gains ground quickly because of his length. Is a strong drag-down tackler capable of pulling down the quarterback while still engaged with a blocker. Uses his hands well. Features a strong rip move, good swim and anticipation of the cut block, showing the quick hands, feet and balance to sprawl. Alert defender who will get his hands up to cloud passing lanes.
Run defense: Lacks the bulk teams are looking for in a three-down defensive tackle. Comes off the snap high but has excellent strength to quickly stand up his opponent. Good hand placement and upper-body strength to stack and shed blocks. Can swim inside, get skinny and beat doubles. Has enough lateral agility and length that running backs can't escape when he's near. Funnels action to teammates. Good lateral agility and balance to play the keys and pursue laterally.
Explosion: Explosive strength to rock the offensive lineman back onto his heels. Can generate ferocious hits when he gets some momentum.
Strength: Among his best assets. Can easily bull rush most offensive linemen and plow them backward into the pocket. Struggles with leverage when playing defensive tackle and can get pushed off the ball early in the play, but ultimately recovers because of his strength.
Tackling: Good drag-down tackler. Can latch on to ballcarriers with just one arm and slow them enough for teammates to clean up the trash. Long arms allow him to "catch" opponents and wrestle them to the ground. Lowers his head too often when making contact. Good effort in lateral pursuit. Will leave his feet and lunge at the ballcarrier, showing the explosiveness to knock his opponent down without wrapping up. Few ballcarriers are able to escape his grasp, long arms and strength.
Intangibles: Investigated by the NCAA for attending draft-day parties with former teammates Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn, but was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. Added 30 pounds since signing with North Carolina. Immaturity and selfishness apparent when asked to move back inside to defensive tackle in the middle of his senior season; he refused for fear it would hurt his draft stock.
NFL Comparison: Julius Peppers, Bears
Coples was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2011 after leading the Tar Heels in both tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (7.5). He posted 55 total tackles on the year-good enough for fourth-best on the team. He ranks fourth in the country among active players with 24 career sacks and leaves Chapel Hill with 144 total tackles, five forced fumbles, 22 quarterback hurries and four pass breakups.
Cleared by NCAA of any wrong-doing in the UNC agent scandal. Moved from defensive end to defensive tackle in the spring and became one of the nation’s top interior players … Earned first-team All- ACC honors and was named second-team All-America by Scout.com … Played in all 13 games and started 12 … Ranked third in the league and 16th in the country in sacks per game … Had 10.0 sacks on the year, which ranked in the top five in the country among defensive tackles … Also ranked seventh in the league with 15.5 tackles for losses … Finished fourth on the team with 59 total tackles and had a team-high 12 quarterback pressures, two pass breakups and one forced fumble … Played well in Carolina’s Music City Bowl win over Tennessee with six tackles, including 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble … Recorded three tackles in the win at Duke … Posted four tackles, forced a fumble and had a sack vs. NC State … Had one tackle for loss and three total tackles vs. Virginia Tech … Sacked Christian Ponder for a 10-yard loss and broke up a pass in the 37-35 win at Florida State … Had three tackles, two tackles for losses and a sack, in the win over William & Mary … Had two tackles at Miami … Postd a career-high 11 stops, including three tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks in Carolina’s first win at Virginia since 1981 … Had two tackles and three quarterback pressures in the 21-16 win over Clemson … Had four tackles and five quarterback pressures vs. East Carolina … Registered nine tackles, including four tackles for losses and three sacks in Carolina’s first win of the season, a 17-13 victory at Rutgers … Had five tackles vs. Georgia Tech … Posted six tackles, including three tackles for losses, vs. LSU in the Chick-fil-A Classic in Atlanta.
Was in the rotation at defensive end ... Gained more than 30 pounds since his freshman season ... Finished the season with 22 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for losses of 40 yards and five sacks for 36 yards ... Had a 7-yard tackle for loss vs. Pittsburgh in the Meineke Car Care Bowl ... Made one tackle at NC State ... Had two tackles, a sack and a quarterback pressure that led to an interception in a 33-24 victory over No. 12 Miami ... Made his first career start at Virginia Tech and had one tackle ... Posted two tackles against Florida State ... Had three tackles, including a 4-yard tackle for loss, vs. Georgia Southern ... Assisted on one tackle vs. Virginia ... Had four tackles, including a 6-yard sack, at Georgia Tech ... Registered one tackle in the win over ECU ... Had one of the best games of his career with five tackles, 2.5 tackles for losses, including two sacks, in Carolina's 12-10 victory at Connecticut ... Sacked UConn's QB on the Huskies' final offensive possession of the game ... Had one tackle in Carolina's season-opening win over The Citadel.
Had eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery ... Did not play in the season opener vs. McNeese State, but saw action in the next 12 consecutive games, including the Meineke Car Care Bowl ... Posted one tackle against West Virginia in the bowl game ... Had one tackle for loss and recovered a fumble at Maryland ... Had one tackle and one quarterback pressure in the 28-7 win over No. 22 Georgia Tech ... Had a 1-yard sack on Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen in UNC's win over the Irish ... Posted one tackle in Carolina's 38-12 win over No. 24 Connecticut ... Had a 5-yard tackle for loss in UNC's 28-24 win at Miami ... Saw action as a reserve defensive end vs. Virginia Tech ... Played in his first career game at Rutgers and posted two tackles and assisted on a sack.
SuperPrep All-America ... Played in the U.S. Army All-America game ... Member of recruiting analyst Tom Lemming's All-America team ... After his performance in the Army All-America game, he moved from unranked to No. 105 in Rivals.com's list of the top 250 players in the country ... Had the East squad's only sack in the game ... Considered the No. 8 prospect in North Carolina by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 6 defensive end in the country by Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 21 defensive end in the country by Scout.com ... Rated the No. 34 defensive end in the country by ESPN.com ... Member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 ... Had 63 tackles and seven sacks as a junior at Kinston High School ... Transferred to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia for his senior year and had eight sacks to lead Hargrave ... Coached by Tony Edwards at Kinston and Robert Prunty at Hargrave.
Son of Gail Coples and Timothy Koonce ... Born June 22, 1990 ... Nickname is "Q" ... His New Year's resolution was to take advantage of his opportunities ... People say he looks like NBA basketball player Shane Battier ... Would most like to appear on the reality TV show, "College Hill" ... Favorite NFL team is the Pittsburgh Steelers ... Communications major.
Draft Scout Player News
12/24/12 - DE Quinton Coples recorded the second multi-sack game of his career Sunday when he sacked Philip Rivers in the first quarter and shared a sack with Garrett McIntyre in the third quarter of the Jets' 27-17 loss to the Chargers. Coples had two sacks against the Colts on Oct. 8.
12/19/12 - DE Quinton Coples recorded his fourth sack of the year Monday night when he took down Titans QB Jake Locker in the third quarter of the Jets' 14-10 loss. Coples, whom the Jets selected in the first round of April's draft, has a sack in two straight games.
10/17/12 - DE Quinton Coples, who initially notched 1.5 sacks in the 35-9 win over the Colts on Sunday, was credited Wednesday with an additional half-sack by the Elias Sports Bureau. Coples and Aaron Maybin originally split the sack of Andrew Luck on the Colts' next-to-last play from scrimmage. The sacks were the first of Coples' NFL career.
10/14/12 - DE Quinton Coples recorded the first sacks of his NFL career when he was credited with 1.5 sacks in the Jets' 35-9 win over the Colts.
09/20/12 - LB Quinton Coples (illness) was added to the injury report Thursday but participated fully in practice and should be fine for the Dolphins game on Sunday.