Every year the media has their lists of top 25 players in the NFL draft. My past experience as a draft enthusiast and player analyst, tells me these rankings, many times tend to be flawed. To me, it seems like it is more of a popularity contest than it is about smash-mouth football players. There is no denying the fact that the “Big School” athletes get the most exposure. I am going to do a series of articles that will be comparing top 25 prospects to later round picks in the draft. This, being the 1st, will be on the defensive line. We all know that the Cowboys need help in the pass rush department.
Quinton Coples, DE N. Carolina
4.78 40 7.57 3 cone
Coples is currently ranked as the #1 defensive line prospect in the nation. Many analysts say he is the most athletic and gifted defensive prospect in the 2012 draft. He is projected as a top 10 pick. The biggest concern about him is he seems to disappear for stretches at a time. (Become a non Factor at times.) His motor is the biggest question mark. When addressed by the media he was riddled with questions about the problem. His reply was:
“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.”
Coples amassed 17.5 sacks over the last two seasons in college. NFL scouts like his versatility. He played both inside at DT and outside at DE in N. Carolina.
“I take pride in being versatile,” he said. “It definitely has raised my stock in that it lets teams know that I can play inside or out. “I’m definitely prepared for whatever defensive scheme that a team has.”
It’s not his athleticism that’s keeping him from getting an even higher grade, but his tendency to disappear for stretches throughout the season. (His sacks came in bunches.) The other knock on on him, is the question as to weather or not he is a team player. Coples resisted cooperating with the coaches when they wanted to move him inside 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 has the size, speed, and athleticism coveted by NFL teams. He is solid against the run, but doesn’t have a large variety of pass rush moves. He handles double teams well and has good burst off of the line. He gets good leverage and maintains good body control. He handles protecting the edge against run plays as well. The biggest knock on him is his motor. He will need a solid coach at the next level who will be able to keep him motivated and bring out his full potential as an NFL pass rusher.
Read the rest of my story, on the next page…..