2012 NFL Draft: Could Quinton Coples Bring the Buffalo Bills a Pass-Rusher?

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2011

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 29:  Carter Brown #35, Trimane Goddard #31, Quinton Coples #90 and Zach Brown #47 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate after game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There's no question that the Buffalo Bills are in dire need of a formidable pass-rusher. Even though they paid a heavy price for outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, questions about his nagging injuries still arise.

Other than Merriman, the Bills have no viable options to attack the quarterback.

In a 3-4 defensive front, outside linebackers normally lead their respective teams in the sack department. However, Marcell Dareus, playing a position that gets little recognition, nose tackle, leads the team with 5.5 sacks on the year. 

Quinton Coples is the perfect prospect for the Bills to draft come April, as the 21-year old North Carolina Tarheel is versatile enough to play in the hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense the Bills operate. He has all of the measurables to be either a 4-3 defensive tackle or end, or a 3-4 five-technique defensive end/linebacker. 

At 6'6", 276 pounds, he surely would bring a better pass-rush than the current starter, Spencer Johnson, who weighs in at more than 300 pounds.

When former Tarheels Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin were suspended, Coples jumped right in, sliding in from left defensive end to an undersized defensive tackle, and had the most productive season of his career. 

Another pro for both Coples and the Bills franchise is that he is stout against the run and can shed blocks almost with ease. Watching film on Coples, it's obvious that he plays until the whistle blows and is extremely effective on almost every down.

He has both the speed and strength to play on the defensive line or as an outside linebacker. He already utilizes strong, powerful bull-rush moves, but can also be finesse and spin around blockers, which allows him to get a first step on opposing linemen.

During his career as a Tarheel, Coples has racked up 120 tackles, 32 for a loss and 24 sacks in four seasons seasons.