Quinton Coples is the definition of “looks the part.” He has all the physical tools in the world to be a force on an NFL defensive line, but there was a reason he was sitting there for the Jets at No. 16.
The Jets took a big swing with this pick, taking a player who has a lot of questions about his competitiveness and work ethic. “Led the ACC in loafs,” PFW’s Nolan Nawrocki wrote.
At the Senior Bowl, there were plenty of questions about Coples after a less-than-stellar senior season, but I thought he was arguably the most impressive defensive player there. He was quick off the snap and got into the backfield with ease. Coples is strong, and it’s hard not to note the resemblance in stature to another North Carolina alum, Julius Peppers.
If anyone can have the confidence in getting the most out of a player, especially a defneisve player, it’s Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Jets are no stranger to taking chances on players based on their upside, and Coples is brimming with it.
The one surprise with the pick lies with who was still on the board — Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw, two pass rushers who were connected to the Jets. Both have questions, and like Coples, were still available for a reason, but could be considered safer picks, and better fits for the Jets’ 3-4 defense, than Coples.
Last year, Ryan compared first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson to Trevor Pryce, and he did the same with Coples this year. The Jets can put Coples’ hand in the dirt at the five-technique, but expect to see him move around a bit.
The Jets are taking a chance, but if Coples can play up to potential based on his tools, he can be a force on the Jets’ D-line for years to come.