2012 NFL Draft: Grading Jets' First Round and What's in Store for Later Rounds

Chris Dela RosaContributor IApril 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Quinton Coples of North Carolina holds up a jersey as he stands on stage after he was selected #16 overall by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

It was a tough decision that made the New York Jets use nine of the ten minutes they are allotted in the first round to make a pick, but with their first pick of the draft, number 16 overall, the Jets selected University of North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.

The Jets took their time making their decision, as they had to compare the top two prospects at defensive end, Coples and South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram.  Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller along with many others expected the Jets to take Ingram going into this draft, even Antonio Cromartie wanted Ingram.  This is what he tweeted before the Jets made their selection.

“I think we need to take Melvin Ingram. Would b a great addition to the gang green defense. Would help the secondary out a lot.”

In the end, the Jets went with Coples who is considered the top defensive end in this year’s draft.  Although Coples went into the draft as a defensive end, in Rex Ryan’s 34 defense, Coples will be playing outside linebacker.  Going into Thursday this was a position the Jets really needed to improve and get younger in.

What ultimately made the Jets choose Coples over Ingram is his pass rushing ability.  Both players are athletic and can line up in different places, which is what the Jets need out of their outside linebackers, but what really matters is finishing.  What separates Coples’ pass rushing abilities from the rest is that he has an array of moves that he can use against opposing offensive lineman, which he takes advantage of by switching it up on a consistent basis, keeping lineman guessing.  Meanwhile guys like Ingram, are still developing their moves and will need some work going into the NFL.

Not only does Coples have great pass rushing ability, he can also play against the run.  As an outside linebacker, when he needs to run in and try to make a stop at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield, he will be able to do so.  Over the last few seasons, he has had to deal with double teams against both the run and pass and has fared pretty well because of his ability to anchor himself and find the ball.  When it comes to zone runs and attempts outside of the tackles, he does a good job of moving his feet while tracking the ball, helping him make the play.

Overall, this was a solid first round pick by the Jets.  Luckily for them, many other teams decided to trade up and down to draft players at other positions, which allowed them to get a top prospect to fill a hole at a position that was in great need of some youth.  Quinton Coples is a guy that will be able to make an immediate impact going into his rookie year in the National Football League and makes a great addition to an already talented New York Jets defense.

Pick Grade: B

What to Expect in the Coming Days

While Quinton Coples is a nice addition, the Jets still have a few more holes they are going to need to fill.  Three positions that stand out as of now are wide receiver, safety and right tackle.

At right tackle the dilemma the Jets face is whether or not to trust Wayne Hunter for another year.  In 2010, Hunter filled in for an injured Damien Woody and did well enough throughout the end of the season and in the playoffs that the Jets brought him back, giving him the starting job and a contract through 2014.  2011 was a disappointing year for Hunter, her under performed tremendously as he was continuously beat up by opposing defensive lineman and even linebackers (i.e. Von Miller).  Because of this, the Jets are going to need an alternative at right tackle and may find him in the coming days at the draft.  Some guys to look for the Jets to snag on Friday or Saturday are Cordy Glenn, or Jonathan Martin.  Both are second round kind of guys, Glenn would be a nice pickup for the Jets he is not only a talented run/pass blocker, but he can also play both guard and tackle.

Meanwhile at Safety, the Jets have been having trouble for the last two seasons.  In 2010 and 2011 they have lost Jim Leonhard to injury during the middle of the season, both times being season ending injuries.  Leonhard’s return to New York is still a mystery, but Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets have started to try and fill the hole through free agency by bringing in former Redskins safety, LaRon Landry.  It is also rumored that the Jets might bring in former Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell.  While it is a position where the Jets could use help, do not expect them to draft a safety to early in the next few rounds, they could possibly take on in the third or fourth round, but it is not the most urgent need right now.

The position that needs the most attention right now is wide receiver.  Right now, the only two starting wide receivers the Jets have are Santonio Holmes, and Jeremy Kerley.  Holmes is a slants and quick route kind of a guy, while Kerley is similar.  Last year the Jets had big Plaxico Burress across from Holmes and Braylon Edwards the year before in order to stretch the field.  The fact of the matter is, the Jets need another guy like Burress and Edwards, a player who can be a nice target for the not so accurate quarterback duo of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.  The Jets currently have the 14th pick in the second round, and will probably use it on a young and talented receiver that can fill the big hole they need.  There are two guys I mentioned in an article earlier this week that the Jets should look to grab going into Friday’s part of the draft, they are Appalachian State’s Brian Quick and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery.  Someone in the second round will likely draft Jeffery, he is nearly 6’3, with big-play potential as he has great catching ability, especially down the field.  Meanwhile, Appalachian State’s Brian Quick is a guy with similar talent.  He stands tall (over 6’3), his big strides allow him to get down the field quickly and his ability to track the ball is great.  Something that may help the Jets going into Friday, especially if they are looking at a guy like Quick is that he still needs some coaching, especially when it comes to beating press coverage, which may make teams avoid him in the second round, allowing the Jets to steal him in the third.  Overall, look for the Jets to make a move for a receiver on Friday as they look to improve their offense under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

 Feel free to comment below on whether you agree or disagree with the Jets first round pick and what you think they should do on Friday and Saturday.

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