2012 NFL Draft: Why Jets Took Quinton Coples over Melvin Ingram

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIApril 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Quinton Coples of North Carolina holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell 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 Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Chants of "We Want Ingram!" rang throughout Radio City Music Hall, as the annual gathering of frustrated Jets faithful voiced their opinion. 

As the commissioner announced the Jets' pick, the chants turned to a mix of cheers and boos. Yes, the Jets selected a player at the same position as Ingram, but his resume is all too reminiscent of Vernon Gholston's, the Jets' last attempt at getting a bona fide pass-rusher. 

What is more confusing is that the Jets showed so much interest in the South Carolina product. According to TFY Draft Insider, there were rumors that the Jets were willing to trade up to get Ingram. 

So why was Coples the pick, with all of his question marks?

For one, Coples is a larger man than Ingram. Ingram is very short and lacks great length, which is a huge red flag, especially for conversion players. Coples, on the other hand, is a former defensive tackle who has plenty of strength and power to play in the NFL

Now a Jet, I expect Rex Ryan to move Coples all over the place, using him as an asset in the run game as a 5-technique, standing him up as a linebacker and kicking him inside to rush on passing downs. 

I think Coples reminds Rex of Terrell Suggs, who was viewed as a bit of a project when he was picked by the Ravens. Rex likes to say that he "made" Suggs, as his production boomed after Rex got his hands on him as defensive coordinator. 

There will be an instinctual reaction among Jets fans to compare Coples to Gholston. However, the two had very different college career paths. Gholston had a great senior year that put him atop draft boards. Coples had a subpar senior year after a promising junior season, but changing positions during coaching turmoil was not exactly an ideal situation to thrive in. 

Rex takes pride in turning defensive linemen dripping with potential into starters. As he goes back to his coaching roots, he is dying to see what he can get out of a guy like Coples. 

Yes, he could have done something similar to Ingram, but Coples has more potential with his size and raw strength. 

Jets fans can only hope that Ryan can do the same with Coples that he did with Suggs. If he can, the Jets could have the best defense in football. If he can't, Coples will be yet another blemish on the Ryan/Tannebaum era of drafting in the first round. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.