I know all that has been said about his ‘motor.’ I understand that on tape, his senior season reveals a number of times that he may not have been giving 110%. That’s why I’m not saying Coples is a stone cold lock to be the next Julius Peppers or Mario Williams, but simply to argue that at this point he’s been over analyzed; therefore underrated.
Just for the sake of comparison, we’ll use Mario Williams as a benchmark. Sounds crazy, right? In three college seasons, Super Mario compiled 126 solo tackles, 25.5 sacks, and 55.5 tackles for loss. This was all capped off in his massive junior year, when he posted 14.5 sacks and 24 TFL. Pretty damn strong. The Texans thought so as well, making him the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. While Coples did play four years of college, there’s not much difference considering he tallied a career 144 solo tackles, 24 sacks, and 40.5 tackles for loss. Let’s not forget that this all came while changing between DT and DE for three seasons. No All-American type season in there, but that’s not a big deal. We are talking about a guy the that Carolina Panthers could draft at #9 overall. A guy, that considering the new rookie wage scale, would probably cost 1/10th of the money Williams did. Combine numbers you ask? Williams: 6’7 294lbs. 4.73. Coples: 6’6 284lbs. 4.78. It would be impossible to project effort and drive at the next level. Who knows if he will want to become a truly great player? However, on a pass-rush needy team in a 4-3 base defense, this guy is absolutely worth the #9 pick.
He’s the most stout DE against the run in this draft, with the versatility to move inside and hold up against the run. With Charles Johnson on the opposite side, there will be a serious duo of DE’s with the ability to get after the QB and also contain the edge. This is big for us considering our relative weakness up the middle. Adding him to this team should not be looked down on because of previous experiences with players from the same school, with similar scouting reports. Let’s take the positives. He’s a guy who can average eight sacks a year and move around the defense to create mismatches. I trust Ron Rivera to relate to the players like he already has, and the players to respond to him. I also have faith in the proven players on our defense to light a fire under everyone’s ass for seasons to come (considering the substantial upside on the offensive side of the ball). So while other options out there are certainly great; Coples is not the downer that some are making him out to be.