I have been hot and cold on Coples for a long time, when I watched him at UNC I either thought this guy is the next Julius Peppers or this guy is lazy and he'll never make an impact at the next level. However the Senior Bowl had quite an effect on me in terms of Coples. I was immensely impressed, couple that (no pun) with the reports of his performances in senior bowl practises and you have me interested.
I've seen his stock floating anywhere from 7th-8th to 27th-28th in the draft. One thing I think is certain (and it will be cemented at the combine) is that this is a guy who is going in the first and has a massive ceiling. I truly believe that this guy has no limit, he can be an absolute great, but here comes the kicker. He takes plays off, no doubt about it. He had 2.5 sacks in the first 8 games his senior year and then three in his final two games.
However he moved to the right side of the defence in his senior year, facing the better left tackles. There is some adjustment that needs to be made. He was also facing double and triple teams all year which he also needed to adjust to. I'm not 100% defending him as I do believe he took some snaps off. He says one of his goals is to become the best 280lb 6-6 lineman to play the game.
He had 10 sacks as a Junior and people have speculated that he may have been playing to not suffer an injury in 2011 that would hurt his stock. Speculation but worth considering and worth noting.
Join me after the jump for some positives and negatives and video Highlights.
Measurable attributes. 6'6 280lb's, has great length, will put up good numbers in the 40 and vertical at the combine. Expect J.J Watt numbers and they were superb. Gaining leverage and using his hands and pad level to his advantage, it's almost NFL standard and won't take a great deal of coaching to refine. His length allows him to get his hands in on a lot of plays, played inside and out at UNC and did a great job at both positions. Very quick off the snap and has a great first step. A physical football player who plays with a lot of violence in his game, seals the edge well against the run and enjoys contact football. Eats up a lot of space quickly and already possesses an arsenal of pass rushing moves. Has good strength to bull, has the finesse and footwork to use swim moves. Uses his hands to bat away efforts to engage and slow him down. Good lateral ability and awareness of where the ball is, wraps up tackles inside. Has to be accounted for on every single snap.
As mentioned in the introduction, his motor is questioned and any time something you can control is questioned, certain questions have to be asked. Can look a little lazy on occasions and takes plays out. Although he does do a nice job jabbing away lineman trying to engage, if he is caught he has a tough time getting loose and gets stood up and pushed out of the play. Needs to refine a lot of game aspects.
Buyer beware! the real bottom line is you are getting a guy who can be as good as he wants to be. He has everything that you need to be a success. Does he want it enough? I think he does. I think he was worried about injury in 2011, just by watching some UNC games. When the spotlight is really on, this is a guy who is going to want to come out and make an impression. If he works his craft and listens to his coaching at the next level; this is a 10 year terror. I was hot and cold on Jason Pierre Paul as well and he looks to be developing into a great player. Copes will do the same thing IMO. More suited to a 4-3 base, but as John, Crack and other people have mentioned. We change our base so much now and he has the talent to be extremely flexible in shooting the 3 and 5 gap.