One of the great things about the NFL Draft is the surprises that happen from time to time. The picks came in fast and furious and trades flew as NFC East teams traded up all over the first part of the first round. The New York Jets stood pat and let the draft play out in front of them. When it was their turn to draft they had their choice of defensive ends and linebackers. Their choice? North Carolina DE Quinton Coples.
I never thought Coples would fall to the Jets at pick 16 but he did. Coples immediately upgrades the Jets defensive line and gives them an edge rusher they have needed for years. At 6-6, 280 pounds, Coples has a long frame and thick build and the power to dominate offensive linemen. He moves extremely well for a man his size. With the Jets he could develop into an outstanding five-technique or three-technique player.
He plays the run well and will put pressure on the quarterback in the pass rush. However, he needs to maintain his intensity throughout the game as his motor sometimes runs hot and cold. If he can motivate himself to bring it on every play the Jets will have their best pass rusher since John Abraham left the team in 2006.
At North Carolina, Coples compiled 26 sacks over his four years with the Tar Heels to accompany his 144 tackles and five forced fumbles. Coples should immediately step in as an edge rusher and should have an impact in Rex Ryan’s defense. The Jets didn’t expect Coples to fall this far in the draft and to have the choice of defensive ends in this draft was certainly a shock to the football world in general. The Jets made a great decision picking Coples and he could develop into a Pro Bowl caliber player in a few years, if not sooner.