Quinton Coples/Vernon Gholston comparison: Is it warranted or paranoia?




When we drafted Quinton Coples, many people on here were very disappointed that we took him over Melvin Ingram. Coples reminds them too much of Gholston, and believes he will bust. It's true, Coples is a high risk/high reward pick. I'm here to say that I believe that Coples will go on to have a very good career with us, and will be the pass rusher that we have been looking for.

The Measurables:

Gholston is at 6'4" 258lbs, a physical specimen. He ran a 4.67 40-yard dash, bench pressed 37 reps and had a 35.5 inch vertical jump, among his other outstanding combine numbers.

Coples is at 6'6" 284lbs, also a physical specimen. He ran a 4.78 40-yard dash, bench pressed 25 reps and had a 31.5 inch vertical jump.

As we can see here, these guys are both physical freaks. Their both fast, and strong. Based on measurable alone, one might think that Gholston is the better prospect. However, football is about so much more than that. So lets dig a little deeper.

College Stats:

Gholston: We only really have two years to go off of when looking at Gholston's college stats.

2006: 47 tackles, 8 sacks.

2007: 37 tackles, 14 sacks.

Coples: To be fair, lets like Gholston, look at Coples' stats in his last two seasons.

2010: 59 tackles, 10 sacks

2011: 55 tackles, 7.5 sacks.

Again, you can see a lot of similarities between these two. Coples tends to get more tackles, might be a testament to him being better against the run, and their sack numbers are very comparable. Gholston had an outstanding 2007 season in terms of sacks. At this point, both Coples and Gholston look very good, and very much alike.

Questionable Motor:

Both of these players have questionable motors, and are known to take plays off. They would be dominant at times, but then disappear from the game for long stretches. This is not good, by any means. However, Gholston's questionable motor was attributed to being lazy, while Coples claims to have been protecting himself from injury this past year. While, it may seem selfish of Coples to do this, the football program was in a very tough situation. Understandably, Coples did not want to give his all for the organization who did this, and did not want to risk injury, or anything that would completely kill his draft stock. I don't think that people were questioning Coples' motor prior to this year, which is very telling. So while, both Gholston and Coples have questionable motors, there seems to be different reasons behind it.

You may be a physical freak, but are you a football player?

Coming into the draft, scouts doubted Gholston's football ability. They acknowledged that he was a great athlete, but there were concerns about his technique. Now, if Gholston had the drive to learn to be a FOOTBALL player when we drafted him, who knows what could have happened? He could be a beast right now. Except he didn't.

Going into the draft, I have not heard nearly as many concerns of that nature about Coples. He seems to have good footwork, and understands how to use his size, and leverage to his advantage. I would say that Coples, at this point is a better FOOTBALL player than Gholston ever was. Yes, Coples still needs to improve on his technique though, as does every college player.

How does Rex feel?

We all know that Gholston was drafted under Mangini. Of course, Rex endorsed Gholston while he was here, but he wasn't Rex's guy. Coples is Rex's guy. He's someone who Rex seems to be ecstatic about and completely believe in. Not surprisingly, I trust Rex much more then I ever trusted "Mangenius".

Holding Yourself Accountable for Your Own Actions:

This, to me, is the biggest difference between the two players. Many people criticized Coples for coming out and admitting that he did not give a full effort this past season. However, I do not. I applaud it. The past is the past, and the organization was in a tough situation. There's nothing Coples can do now to change it. However, he can erase all doubts about him. Why? because he realizes his lack of effort was the reason for the decline in his production. Something tells me he will go all out with the Jets, and that Rex will help him fulfill his potential.

Here's the problem with Gholston: everyone and their mother knew that he had an effort problem. He had all the potential in the world, yet he just did not give a crap. He didn't want to learn, and he didn't want to improve. Yet, it wasn't "his fault". Instead, the New York Jets "misutilized" him. He thought he could be amazing if someone would just use him in the correct way, and gave him a chance to succeed. So the Jets release him. The Bears pick him up, put him into a 4-3 scheme at the DE position, which is much more natural for him. Except it isn't long before even they give up on him and release him. I guess they "misutilized" him as well.

No accountability. I think that may have been Gholston's biggest problem. He blamed everybody else except himself. At least Coples acknowledges it was his fault. That's the biggest difference between two, and that is a big reason why I think that Gholston did not succeed, and that Coples will.

More Realistic Comparison:

I think comparing Coples to Julius Peppers is much more realistic. Their almost identical in size (Coples: 6'6" 284 lbs. Peppers: 6'7" 287 lbs.) There were even worries about Peppers' motor coming into the league, and even at some points during his professional career.

Mario Williams is also very comparable in size (6'6" 292 lbs.).

It's also very interesting to note that Peppers, once a 4-3 DE in Carolina, is now a successful OLB in Chicago. Williams also moved to OLB in Houston last year, before he got injured, and will be playing OLB in Buffalo this year. This leads me to believe that Coples could be versatile enough to play in both schemes, although between Rex saying that Coples would have his hand in the dirt, and drafting Davis, I have a feeling that we are changing towards more of a 4-3 scheme. It makes sense when you also think how he ran 4-3 dominated scheme in Baltimore.

So, at this point in time, the verdict is obviously out on Coples, but I think he will turn out to be a great draft pick. I believe the Quinton Coples/Vernon Gholston comparison is mostly a comparison based on paranoia.

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