The first day of the 2012 NFL Draft is in the books. The first fifteen picks left the Jets with plenty of options. Melvin Ingram, Riley Reiff, and David Decastro were still on the board. Gang Green passed on all of them, though, to take North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples. Coples was viewed by many as a guy with top five raw ability but a questionable motor. He had a disappointing senior year but stood out at the Senior Bowl.
I was very satisfied with Muhammad Wilkerson a year ago because I viewed him as a safe pick. First round picks are extremely valuable. That goes double for a team without much cap space like the Jets. The Draft is the only place to add premium talent. Coples is the opposite of a safe pick, but the upside is through the roof. He has potential to be a superstar and a game changing talent as a pass rusher. Many have been upset that the Jets have been unwilling to add a pass rusher in recent years. Coples might be an impact guy. 280 pounders with 1.63 10 yard splits are not easy to find. Coples also has an excellent bull rush and uses his long arms to disengage well as a pass rusher.
The question is where Coples will play. He moved all over the place at North Carolina. He played inside at defensive tackle. He played the five technique. He played 3-4 defensive end. He rushed standing up as a linebacker. Rex Ryan absolutely loves versatility. Rex indicated tonight he views Coples as a lineman. He compared him to the likes of Trevor Pryce and Shaun Ellis. Perhaps this means the Jets will use him a lot on four man lines. Given the quality of gap plugging linemen the Jets already have, it would feel like a waste to use him to plug up two gaps as a 3-4 lineman. Rex might have tipped his hand a bit when he noted his belief Coples could play linebacker. The head coach's history indicates Coples will play one position on most plays, but the potential is there for him to move all over the place. Ryan loves creating mismatches.
Looking ahead to the second round, we are probably going to find out how serious the Jets are when they claim they like Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse. Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn, Mike Adams, and Bobbie Massie all made it out of the first round. At least one is probably going to be there at pick 47. With Harrison Smith going in the first round, the safety position looks rather thin. I would not put it past the Jets to try and add another pass rusher, but seven went in the first round including Coples. Bruce Irvin, who looked like a second to third round sleeper, shockingly went to Seattle at pick 15. Running back might be out with Doug Martin and David Wilson going as the last two picks in the first round. Wide receiver could be an option with Stephen Hill and Alshon Jeffery still there. Both would fit the mold of the big deep threat the Jets could use.