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The Quinton Coples Question

Quinton Coples is a 6-6, 280 lbs, DE prospect from UNC. In 2010, he played mostly at DT in Carolina's 4-man front, and logged 15.5 TFLs and 10 sacks. In 2011, he logged another 15 TFLs and 7.5 sacks (many more double-teams). If you've ever seen UNC play live, there's no doubt that Coples is a freak. His size and athleticism jumps off the screen.

Apparently, Coples is dominating Senior Bowl practices. "Coples has the size, strength and athleticism to be a force regardless of scheme. Rated as the No. 1 defensive end prospect and 12th overall by NFLDraftScout.com, Coples is the highest-rated Senior Bowl participant. He hasn't disappointed, terrorizing the South team's quarterbacks and running backs by consistently penetrating the line of scrimmage to blow up plays before they've even begun." Apparently, he's giving hell to all the top tackle prospects he faces. "[Coples] is so big and strong that you might think he's going to bull-rush you all the time but he's kind of a hybrid because he can move so well," Florida State offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders said. Considered by most to be the South Team's top pass blocking tackle, Sanders has nonetheless struggled with Coples so far this week. [Coples] has a lot of moves, including spinning back inside," Sanders said. "He's tough to remain square to. It's good for me because I'll be facing guys like him in the NFL and I will improve from the experience but, yeah, he's tough."

The question seems to be whether he's better suited to play DE or DT in the NFL. "The league has changed," [Reggie] McKenzie said as Tuesday's practice ended. "Schemes have morphed so much that there now is so much difference with what a team might be doing based on first down, second down, and third down. Few teams are strictly a four-man or three-man front anymore. Some people believe that the 3-4 defense is more versatile because it gives you more guys who can stand up and move around. That's the thing with the NFL, it is constantly evolving. So, any time you can add a player with the versatility to do that, you can't help but be interested." But why not OLB in a 34?

There's another 6-6, 280 lbs athletically freaky DE free agent prospect thats out there this year. In 2011 his team converted from a 43 front to a 34 front, and his new D-coordinator made a radical decision to try him at the OLB spot. His name is Mario Williams, and he responded with 5 sacks in 5 games before being sidelined for the season with a torn pec. Like Williams, Coples lacks the burst that many pass rushing OLBs seem to have. However, also like Williams, Coples seems to have the size, length, strength and athleticism to be nearly impossible to handle on the edge. My personal philosophy is to grab the best player available when drafting. In my opinion, Coples has the ability to be a dynamic, game-changing force. I think that if the opportunity presents itself, you grab a guy like that and tweak your scheme to suit his strengths. There was a time when Darrelle Revis was highly regarded as a top notch cover corner. Then Rex came, saw what he could do, and changed the scheme to suit his strengths. Now the only question about Revis is how good he his in a historical perspective. Coples is good enough to grab and worry about fitting the scheme to him.

Coples could be used like the Giants use Tuck. He could help set the edge against the run from the the OLB spot on the first two downs, and then put him down at DE on passing downs with Maybin speed rushing off his flank. Maybin would create a lot of space for him to operate and I think he could be a dominating force as a pass rusher.

Also wouldn't mind taking a run a Williams in free agency. A 4-man front on passing downs of Maybin, Coples, Wilkerson and Williams would be SICK. Williams can either stand or do his thing with his hand in the ground. Maybin can stand or use a wide-9 technique. And Coples and Wilkerson in the middle would create carnage. That front four with our corners behind them would be all kinds of tough to handle.
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