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Road to the Draft: Quinton Coples

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
6-foot-6, 284 pounds
Draft projection: Top 10

Lowdown: Coples is the most physically impressive defensive end in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has the size and length to be a dominant pass rusher. He was a likely top-five pick entering last season after getting 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss as a junior. His senior year wasn’t great. He had 7.5 sacks. Scouts wonder if he has the intensity and competitiveness to be great in the NFL. Coples spent a lot of time at defensive tackle as a junior and more time at defensive end as a senior. He was subbed out at times. It was a confounding year. Coples played very well at the Senior Bowl. He was one of the best players on the field. So scouts have to weigh the film results and make a tough call. He’s probably best suited to play left defensive end in the NFL. One possible destination for him would be Jacksonville, which has the No. 7 pick. Miami has a need for a pass rusher like Coples at No. 8. He could last until Buffalo picks at No. 10.

Coples was grilled on his lackluster senior year at the NFL Scouting Combine. Some of his responses: “It was a situation that my coach asked me to do, make a change. I made that change and I think I think I ran into some things a little more than I should have instead of just playing the game that I love. It kind of affected my game. But overall, I went to the Senior Bowl, I did some things and I showed them that I can compete at the highest level. … A lot of people have a lot of high expectations for me. And I appreciate that. But when you're playing the game of football, you have things that happen that don't go as planned. I think it was a situation that happened that I learned from, I matured from, and I think I'll reap the benefits at the next level."

On his Senior Bowl play: “I heard the rumors and all the things that were going on about me not playing as hard, so I took it personally. And I made a statement for myself that I can compete outside of the ACC and all across the country."

Said Bills General Manager Buddy Nix: “How consistent and how productive can he be? You just don’t know. It’s part of what makes this a hard business. The guy if he plays up to his potential, he’ll be a great player for a long time.”

---Mark Gaughan

(The News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.)

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NFL Draft
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