Last year, the New York Jets spent the No. 16 overall pick on defensive end Quinton Coples, one of the most polarizing prospects of the 2012 NFL Draft. This year, they’ll be expecting big things from the youngster now that the training wheels are off.
In his first season in the big leagues, Coples was far from a letdown. Playing in all 16 games (starting two), Coples racked up 30 tackles, a team-high 5.5 sacks and two deflected passes as a situational pass-rusher. While he was a steady contributor, the Jets need him to be much more than that in his sophomore season.
While his production was respectable in 2012, the fact that he didn’t catch on until the end of the year hurt the Jets. Of his 5.5 sacks, 3.5 of them came in the last four weeks of the season and he wasn’t a game-to-game factor until after the Jets’ Week 9 bye. For the majority of the season, defensive tackle Muhammah Wilkerson was often the lone force along the front, which allowed offenses to double team and effectively nullify him.
It’s also a bit unsettling that Coples played less than half of the Jets’ defensive snaps in 2012. For a player dubbed as an elite playmaker, the fact that he failed to earn significant amounts of playing time isn’t promising.
Throughout his college career, Coples struggled to keep his motor running consistently. The same issue hindered him during his first year in the NFL. If he’s going to live up to the potential that made him a first-round pick, he’ll need to flip the switch in his second season with the Jets. Picking and choosing when he wants to give it his all is no longer an option.
Coples needs to be a keeper if the Jets are going to get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.