When the New York Jets spent their 2012 first-round pick on defensive end Quinton Coples, it was assumed that he’d make an immediate impact for the Gang Green. While his rookie season wasn’t quite what the Jets were hoping for, Coples is primed for a breakout sophomore campaign.
Now at outside linebacker, Coples will have every opportunity to assert himself as a dominant edge rusher for New York. After dropping weight during the offseason and proving to head coach Rex Ryan that he’s ready to sell out for the cause, the North Carolina product should receive plenty of snaps in 2013.
Throughout his rookie campaign, Coples was held back by rawness and immaturity, often struggling to maintain the work ethic necessary to compete in the NFL. Even then, he still showed the type of explosiveness the Jets have been missing on the defensive side of the ball.
Despite playing less than 50 percent of the Jets’ snaps, Coples led the team with 5.5 sacks on the season. He proved that, when going at full speed, he can be a force in the pass-rush department. Assuming Coples can make a seamless transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, the Jets could field an intimidating defensive front that includes Muhammad Wilkerson, Demario Davis and 2013 first-rounder Sheldon Richardson.
It all depends on the mental steps that Coples does or doesn’t take. There’s no denying that he has the physical tools to be rack up sacks for the Jets, but he needs to keep himself focused on getting better each and every day.
If he can play to his potential, Coples will be headed for a monster season in 2013. The Jets need all of their playmakers to perform this upcoming season if Ryan wants to keep his job, and Coples is the first step.