Two years ago, the Eagles drafted Brandon Graham and hoped he could be a forceful pass rusher opposite Trent Cole. Graham is yet to live up to expectations, so the Eagles may try to find a young stud again this year. One option they may explore is North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.
At 6-6 and 285 pounds, Coples doesn’t exactly fit the bill of pass rushers the Eagles have targeted in the past. However, he is a vary talented player and has a lot of potential as he prepares to enter the league.
A lot of people don’t like to use the word potential because everyone has it in one way or another. In the case of Coples, I just feel that he is much further away from his ceiling than other draft prospects. This is because he isn’t known to always play with a ton of drive. If he really can commit himself, I think he has the ability to be very special.
Coming off the edge, he has a lot of natural power. He relies a lot on his strength to get to the quarterback, so he could afford to work more on his technique when he enters the NFL. If he can develop a way to use his large arms more effectively, he will have a real strong arsenal of pass rushing tools.
Another nice thing about Coples is the versatility he has to move into the middle. He played the defensive tackle position as a junior due to a lack of depth on his team. I don’t think he’s built to be an every play defensive tackle in the NFL, but it is an area he can move into and be effective in during passing downs.
Coples has also shown to be a very strong run defender. He is able to use his size to get good leverage and positions himself well. When he gets his long arms around a running back, it’s hard for them to get away.
Check out this video of Coples against Virginia Tech, via DraftBreakdown.com.
Many people are projecting Coples to go within the top 10 picks. This clearly means the Eagles may need to move up in order to get him. They have plenty of ammunition in terms of draft picks. However, I think they need to tread cautiously after trading up for a defensive end just two years ago.
Coples size and athleticism is an attractive combination. He could provide some versatility along the defensive line, being able to line up outside and in the middle. There wouldn’t be a ton of pressure for Coples to come in and be the man right from the start with Trent Cole and Jason Babin already in town.
If Coples comes to Philly and can play with more drive than he has shown in the past, I could see him having a lot of success.