Quinton Coples Measurables:
Position: Defensive End
School: North Carolina
Born: Kinston, North Carolina on June 22, 1990
Parents: Gail Coples and Timothy Koonce
Prior to his days with the University of North Carolina, Coples attended Kinston High School in Kinston, North Carolina, but later transferred to Hargrave Military Academy for his senior season. As a junior at Kinston, he had 63 tackles and seven sacks. After transferring, he led Hargrave with eight sacks.
Coples was named SuperPrep All-America after his senior year and played in the U.S. Army All-America game. He was also a member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100.
Joining the University of North Carolina in 2008, Coples saw the field on a regular basis for a freshman, recording a respectable 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 1.5 sacks. After packing on about 30 pounds between his freshman and sophomore seasons, he moved into a steady rotation at defensive end for the Tar Heels. He finished his second collegiate season with 22 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for losses and five sacks.
Due to needs on the interior of North Carolina's line, Coples moved inside to defensive tackle his junior year and emerged as one of the top defensive linemen in the country. He started 12-of-13 games, notching 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for losses. For his effort, he earned first-team All-ACC honors and was named second-team All-America by Scout.com.
Coples capped off a solid junior season with a fine performance in the Tar Heels' Music City Bowl win over Tennessee, recording six tackles and adding 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries, and one forced fumble.
Moving back outside to the defensive end position for his senior season, Coples got off to a bit of a slow start, but continued to establish himself as one of the top defensive prospects in the country if for no other reason than because of the potential of his natural physical abilities.
At 6-6 and 285 pounds, Coples has the size, speed, and strength to be an every-down player in the NFL. He has a quick burst off the line of scrimmage, with the strength to knock offensive linemen back on their heels. Power, which he displays regularly with a tremendous bull rush, is perhaps his best asset.
Coples, though, also has the ability to counter his power rush with a strong rip or swim move. He's a an athletic and physical player who uses his hands very well and does a great job of using his long arms to keep offensive linemen away from his body.
Having played at defensive tackle while at North Carolina, Coples has shown the versatility to be able to move inside on passing downs and get a push up the middle while still having the strength to hold up against the run. He also has the lateral agility to pursue the ball carrier down the line.
There are questions as to which position Coples will end up at in the NFL. He doesn't have the size most teams look for at defensive tackle, and he lacks the quick-twitch pass-rushing skills possessed by most of the NFL's elite pass rushers. His most natural position, may end up being at left defensive end. Which raises the question, "Do NFL teams view the left end position as being worth a high first-round draft pick?"
Coples may also be hurt on draft day by the perception that he gave an inconsistent effort early in his senior season.
Coples has been near the top of many draft boards early, but I'm not sure teams will view him as a potentially-dominating pass rusher at the NFL level. And a top-ten selection is not likely if he is not projected to be a consistent presence in the opponent's backfield. Instead, he is likely to be viewed more as a solid left end his stock is likely to fall to somewhere in the mid-to-late first round as the draft approaches.