There was plenty of backlash when the New York Jets selected Quinton Coples in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. After names like Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw were linked to the Jets throughout the process, many assumed if one of those two were on the board they would be wearing green and white. Beyond that, Quinton Coples had been hit with a red flag by some for his lack of production his senior season at North Carolina while he was adjusting to a new position. Rex Ryan identified Quinton Coples as a supreme athlete who can provide production at a position that usually doesn't fill that stat sheet. Quinton Coples did just that in 2012.
The doubters surfaced immediately when the New York Jets selected Quinton Coples 16th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was labeled as "selfish," a "quitter," and he wasn't the right choice with Melvin Ingram still on the board. Stories also surfaced that the Jets were upset about Bruce Irvin being taken ahead of their selection. In the end, the Jets loved his size and athleticism and found the right fit for their defense.
Mike Mayock said prior to the NFL Draft about Quinton Coples: "If I'm a GM, I'm not taking him in the first round. I might not take him in the second round."
Rex Ryan saw it differently. He knew that Quinton Coples could play in his system and produce from a position that usually doesn't in his 3-4 scheme. Quinton Coples finished the season with 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two passes defensed in somewhat limited playing time. Everyone is gushing over the season Muhammad Wilkerson had in 2012, and rightfully so given his numbers, but Quinton Coples finished as the team's sack leader. Wilkerson made a big step up from his rookie season and the Jets will be hoping that Quinton Coples can keep building on his rookie campaign.
Oh, and Melvin Ingram? Still a work in progress. Melvin Ingram recorded just one sack last season in limited playing time for the San Diego Chargers. Of course, he is an outside linebacker, a spot counted on for more statistical production that where Quinton Coples plays at defensive end in Rex Ryan's defense. Courtney Upshaw finished with 1.5 sacks, four short of Coples, on his way to a Super Bowl victory with the Baltimore Ravens. Chandler Jones recorded six sacks for the New England Patriots while see a lot more playing time and at a more sack-friendly position.
Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, it was generally accepted that the Jets needed to put together a better pass rush. Quinton Coples has been a huge part of that and has given the Jets a bright future along the defensive line.
In short, he was the right pick.
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