2012 NFL Draft: Should Dallas Cowboys Eye Quinton Coples?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIApril 23, 2012

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 17: Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is struck in the head after throwing the ball by Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have their share of players to contemplate in the first round. Some prospects, such as David DeCastro and Quinton Coples, seem particularly attractive for the Cowboys. While DeCastro looks to be picked in the mid-first round, Coples may be drafted before the Cowboys hit the clock.

He's projected to go before the Cowboys pick by CBSSports.com and Pro Football Weekly, while Sports Illustrated's Don Banks and Peter King both predict him to go just after the Cowboys pick. ESPN.com ranks Coples No. 14 among all prospects.

Some may wonder if it would be worthwhile for the Cowboys to trade up if they have to do so in order to get Coples.

Coples is an extraordinary pass-rushing talent that the Cowboys could use to aid DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Coples is quick off the snap and possesses great power. He can drive an explosive bull rush through offensive linemen and into the backfield.

At 6'6" and 282 pounds, Coples is tall and long enough to scare quarterbacks as he closes in on the blitz. He's difficult to elude, as long as he is.

Coples will drag guys down, which will diminish his sack numbers but still allow him to prevent passes by taking the quarterback down.

He's versatile enough to play either defensive end or tackle, although his frame makes him a better fit for the end position.

Coples stood out while at North Carolina, earning first-team All-ACC honors in 2010 and 2011.

The Cowboys might want to keep an eye on other teams' interest in Coples. If teams ahead of them look to draft him and he seems like a good pick to them, they might want to contemplate trading up a couple spots to get him.

However, if the cost seems to be too much to trade up for Coples, the Cowboys should consider other pass-rushers like Courtney Upshaw or Whitney Mercilus if they want to draft one at No. 14.

While the 14th overall pick is usually just outside the zone of true difference-makers, the Cowboys don't miss out on great talents where they sit. As far as pass-rushers go, Upshaw isn't far off Coples' level. His traits are just a step off those of Coples. The Cowboys would be alright watching Coples, but they wouldn't be at a loss if they missed out on him.