How Does Quinton Coples, Motor Questions and All, Fit in New York Jets Defense?

Erik FrenzSenior Writer 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

With every pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, there will be positives and negatives; strengths and weaknesses; pros and cons.

And every pick will ultimately be either a success or a failure.

Perhaps none, though, will be more black-or-white in that sense than North Carolina defensive linemen Quinton Coples.

On one hand, he drips raw athleticism: 6'6", 284 pounds, 33.25" long arms and a 1.63-second 10-yard split. On the other hand, he disappeared for long stretches in the 2011 season and logged two-thirds of his sack production against Duke and James Madison. 

On one hand, his tape shows inconsistent effort. On the other hand, he overpowered some of the top competition at the Senior Bowl, turning heads with the ease with which he handled some of the top-rated tackles in this year's draft. 

All this led to Coples, a top-10 talent, lasting all the way to No. 16.

The talent is certainly there, but make no mistake: The Jets showed a lot of faith in him to be a cornerstone for the future. 

But is he walking into a bad situation with the Jets? 

Santonio Holmes quit because he wasn't getting the ball. Bart Scott quit because he was coming off the field on third downs. Those aren't exactly the strong locker room influences you want to help bring in a guy with questionable motor.

Some of Coples' in-season struggles could be attributed to a position change; he played mainly inside for North Carolina in 2010 and excelled in that role, but when he was asked to switch to defensive end, he struggled and even gave up a bit. 

In that sense, Coples' situation carries a bit of Albert Haynesworth. In a locker room full of Holmeses and Scotts, can the team and the coaching staff cope with Coples?

They'd better hope so, and Coples had better get used to some position changes; if Rex Ryan's defense is any indication, he'll have to line up at different spots week-to-week, and sometimes even snap-to-snap.

But all that aside, the Jets knew who their man was going to be when they went on the clock.

"Coach Rex Ryan promised me that, at 16, if I was still there, they were definitely going to take me," Coples told shortly after the pick.

So clearly, they feel good about their ability to motivate him. Kristine Reese of The Green Room also raises a valid point about Rex Ryan:

I do think that of all people, Rex Ryan knows how to use and motivate a player like Coples. We have since learned that Rex told Coples he would draft him if he was there, and that tells me that Rex is pretty jazzed up about this guy.

He has often been regarded as a coach that players want to play for. So it seems the Jets are confident in their ability to maximize Coples' talent.

The other question is, how does he fit into the Jets defense?

He could play the 5-technique in their 3-4 front, but they already have a host of that type of player on their roster. He will likely play a similar role to Jets defensive linemen Mike DeVito, whose contract is up at the end of the 2012 season.

He's ready to contribute in various ways, though, telling, "I think I am going to fit well as a five technique or dropping into coverage, so at the end of the day, that’s what I’m prepared for [and] been working hard for."

While he may not be the edge pass rusher the Jets wanted or needed, he can help their pass rush greatly by drawing double teams from offensive linemen, opening things up for—you guessed it—the blitz.

The effectiveness of the blitz helped them greatly in 2010, and with its decreased effectiveness in 2011, the ripple effect was felt. Any way the Jets can find to improve their pass rush is one they must consider. The team logged just 35 sacks in 2011.

This pick has major boom-or-bust potential; he could be a top-10 talent from this draft or a top-10 headache in the Jets locker room. Time will tell, but the Jets got a player with a ton of potential in Coples. Let's see what they can get out of him.