With the No. 16 pick in the NFL draft, the Jets selected North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples. The selection of the former Tar Heels pass rusher represents the second straight year the Jets used their top pick to nab a defensive end, selecting Mohammad Wilkerson in the first round last April.
In his four seasons in Chapel Hill, Coples had 24 sacks, but was dogged with questions about his commitment and work-rate.
Immediately after the pick, Metro New York solicited the opinion of three well-regarded NFL talent analysts for their reactions to the pick:
Resume and Credentials: The general manager and national scout of Ourlads.com, Shonka has been involved in player personnel work for 39 years. He is one of, if not the only, NFL draft analyst and personnel evaluators to have played and coached the game, recruited high school players on the major college level and scouted professionally. Shonka scouted for National Football Scouting, the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gut Instinct on the Pick: Good
Why I Like This Pick: He has all the tools to be a top-level player
Why I’m Not Crazy About the Pick: Inconsistent, a flash player who picks his spots to turn it on. Rex Ryan was good for Haloti Ngata and in college, Ngata picked his spots at Oregon.
Resume and Credentials: Graduated Ohio State 1974 worked for Jets in Scouting Dept 1974-81 and named first female scout in NFL 1977 for New York Jets.
Gut Instinct on the Pick: My gut is “scared” — but if anyone can motivate on D it’s Rex.
Why I Like This Pick: Played both defensive tackle and defensive end, but reputation for not going all out all the time. Great athletic ability, all the numbers such as height, weight and speed, but I question his intensity.
Why I’m Not Crazy About the Pick: I wanted a pure pass rusher so we don’t have to blitz to put pressure on the quarterback, but wanted a guy with non-stop motor. Trust they feel he will use great ability he has.
Resume and Credentials: The founder of College Football Insiders and a writer for AllMediaNY.com. Mogollon has been covering the NFL draft with NFL Draft Bible since 2006. You can follow him on Twitter @SportsMasterDan.
Gut Instinct on the Pick: Arguably the most gifted player on the board, Quinton Coples was a good (but risky) pick by the Jets at No. 16, a top-10 talent without question.
Why I Like This Pick: The Jets needed a pass-rusher more than anything else in this draft and they addressed that deficiency by taking Coples. Not only did the pick fill a need, but he was probably “the best player available” on their board, so it could be a perfect marriage. At 6-foot-6 and 284 pounds he has the type of size you can’t teach, and he’s a very impressive athlete for a man of his size. He flashed at the NFL Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl just how good he can be. Coples isn’t a one-trick pony, as he can also play the run very well. He’s strong, plays with leverage and can disengage from blocks. His experience at defensive tackle at UNC leads you to believe he should be able to play the five-technique in a 3-4 scheme. He’s not quite Julius Peppers athletically, but Mario Williams might be a fair comparison and the former N.C. State product transitioned to outside linebacker with the Houston Texans last season and was signed by the Buffalo Bills, a 3-4 team this spring. If Coples reaches his full potential, this will be the Jets’ best value pick in the first round since they drafted Darrelle Revis.
Why I’m Not Crazy About the Pick: Coples is a top-10 talent, but there’s a reason he didn’t go in the top 10. You have to wonder why we didn’t see the player we saw in Indianapolis (combine) and Mobile (Senior Bowl) during the 2011 season. The production you want to see from the No. 16 pick in the draft simply wasn’t there. His motor is in question, which puts the onus on Rex Ryan to make sure Coples doesn’t become the next — brace yourself Jets fans — Vernon Gholston. His instincts also aren’t up to par, which he will need to improve on to take full advantage of all his physical abilities. Moreover, we haven’t seen anything on tape to indicate he can play with his hand off the ground as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Maybe he can make the switch like Super Mario, but that needs to be proven out on the football field. There were other players on the board who either had higher floors (Stanford’s David DeCastro), fit more of a Jets need (South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram at OLB) or both (Iowa’s right tackle Riley Reiff) at No. 16.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.