2012 NFL Draft: Quinton Coples and Prospects Titans Should Avoid

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVApril 9, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Quinton Coples and Prospects Titans Should Avoid

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    The 2012 NFL draft is just around the corner, which means another solid draft weekend is in store for the Tennessee Titans.

    Tennessee typically drafts well in rounds two through seven, but they have made some weak choices in the first round over the last couple of years that had off-the-field issues and never reached their full potential in the Titan baby-blue jersey.

    No. 3 overall pick Vince Young had a solid record as a starter for the Titans, but he didn't evolve into the elite quarterback that he should have after being drafted so high. His attitude problems off the field and in the locker room ultimately led to his departure from Nashville.

    They also went with Adam "Pacman" Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in 2005 to see him get involved in many bar fights, battery accusations and even one fatal shooting that led his exit for just a fourth-round pick to the Dallas Cowboys less than three years removed from being a top-10 draft pick.

    With such a deep pool of first-round talent and many needs for Tennessee, the draft comes with many players who could end up reflecting Young's and Jones' troubles and hurt the Titans in 2012, both on and off the field.

    There are also many first-round potential players whose effectiveness at their position has been put to question.

    It would greatly hurt the Titans' chances of winning over the next few years if they chose any of these shaky draft picks with their first-round pick.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

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    Janoris Jenkins possesses great talent and could be a lockdown cornerback at the next level, but he draws way too many parallels to Pacman Jones and has a great possibility of becoming a nuisance for any coaching staff.

    In a Florida career that included involvement in a fight, being tasered and charged with resisting arrest and being arrested twice in four months for drug charges, he certainly made an ill name for himself in the public eye. 

    Jenkins became a standout at Florida and was one of their best defenders before being dismissed by the then new head coach Will Muschamp for chronic off-field issues. He opted to play at North Alabama for a year instead of entering the draft to improve his image, but Tennessee won't be fooled.

    His attitude problems didn't seem to repair at North Alabama, when he was ejected and eventually suspended for throwing a punch during their Oct. 13 game with Delta State. 

    Tennessee decided to ignore Pacman's off-the-field issues when he came out of West Virginia—that resulted in about two years of solid play and a quick departure. It'd be a colossal mistake for Mike Munchak to pick this troublemaker to fill in the hole that Cortland Finnegan left.

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame's stud receiver Michael Floyd has great potential and could turn into the next Larry Fitzgerald, but his off-the-field problems and nagging injury pains will make him a risky pick in this year's draft.

    He returned to the Fighting Irish after his run-in with the law and had a solid year both on and off the field, but that shouldn't be enough to make the Titans pull the trigger.

    He was arrested and eventually suspended for a DUI arrest that he had in which his blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit. This was his third alcohol-related arrest while playing at Notre Dame. Yes, his third.

    If that's not enough to shoo the Titans away, his nagging injury problems will be. He's battled problems nearly from head to toe and in a NFL that is as physically demanding and injury-prone as it's ever been; it'd be a safe bet to go with a receiver that is both healthier and stays out of trouble more than Floyd.

Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

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    Michael Brockers could be the most athletic defensive lineman to come out of this year's draft, but his workload and minute in-game impact should be enough to convince the Titans to go elsewhere.

    Brockers is one of a few players in this year's draft that could be picked as high as the seventh or eighth pick or be pushed out of the first round. 

    He's ballooned into a 300 pound force during his time at LSU, but he's entering the draft fresh off his first full year as a starter—he only started one career game prior to the 2011 season.

    While many prospects similar to Brockers have many years of experience in the trenches, Brockers doesn't seem to be as battle-tested as his peers. Even playing in such a physically demanding league as the SEC, one year of experience isn't enough to become a great impact early in an NFL career.

    He could turn into a great defensive lineman, but he will have little to no impact on the field next season, and it could take a while to improve his game enough to play in the big league. I wouldn't be too surprised if the Titans beefed up their defensive line, but I don't see it being with Brockers.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

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    North Carolina defensive standout Quinton Coples has seen his name skyrocket on NFL draft boards since the end of the season, but he's going to be tough to handle for whichever team chooses him.

    His athletic skill and length is unmatched at his position, but it's unclear if he would struggle with the transition back to defensive end after he played tackle for much of his final season at North Carolina. 

    There are a handful of elite defensive end prospects in this year's draft, and nearly all of the first-round potential ones have much better explosiveness off the edge than Coples. He struggles getting around the outside to disrupt the passer, which is a main reason why he was utilized in the interior last year.

    He also has some apparent attitude issues. Coples was investigated by the NCAA for attending draft day parties of his former teammates Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn. He also was initially upset with moving to D-tackle last season.

    He has the potential to be as great as Julius Peppers, but also is drawing some similarities in attitude and character to Vince Young, something the Titans would love to avoid. 

    Tennessee would benefit much more from a player like Melvin Ingram, who could also be off the board but possesses much better explosiveness as a true D-end and has no off-the-field issues.