I have to say it was enjoyable hanging out in the new isportsweb forum while watching the first round of the NFL Draft on ESPN. The good side of last night it was that it was the fastest first round ever for this kind of event, and yes I remember when round one took over five hours, as well as the many trades coming and going. The bad side was that before anyone made a true pick we knew the first three off the board. Being a Tar Heel, the bad side was also the realization that defensive end Quinton Coples’ flaws showed up as he slid down the draft to the sixteen pick, which belonged to the New York Jets.
While being a first rounder is nothing to sneeze at, the fact is that Coples was ranked as maybe the second off the board at the beginning of the college season and ended up being labelied as an “off and on” type player is something no one wants to have to them. Many analysts have refered to the defensive end as an “underachiever”, and that too can not be argued if you watched his last season at Carolina. On the other side, some do like this pick for Gang Green, and in the end it’s what the franchise likes, and from the sound of it head coach Rex Ryan liked the D lineman when he saw him in Chapel Hill for their Pro Day.
“He told me that if I were still there, he was definitely going to take me,” Coples said during a conference call Thursday night. “I’m just thankful he was a man of his word.”
From an article in the News & Observer it talks about coach Ryan having participated as a blocker as Coples went through line drills and then having him do some line backer drills. In other words this was not a pick based on other people’s observation, or on just tape or reccomendations. This was the head coach of a team looking at the player, deciding this is his player for the 2012 Draft and going for it.
As we all know picks made this draft can be called a “possible” this or that but it will take several seasons to see the true result of what you picked as a team. I have to believe that while Coples didn’t have the year many expected he would last season, and that some of the negative comments about him are true, he is also a good player that can be a starter at the next level and will immediately help out the Jets as the franchise has needed a pass rusher from the edge for quite a while. It’s been since the team had John Abraham that the Jets have had a need for this type of player that can get to the QB from that position. If Coples can put in the time and effort coach Ryan might have just landed a Pro Bowl player while not having to move up in the draft like many other teams did to get their player.
As I do with all other former Tar Heels that move on to their next chapter let me wish the young man all the best!