Usually, being described as ‘mentally nuts’ is not good. For players looking to get drafted in the first round it could go one of two ways.

One, NFL talent evaluators could shy away from picking the player, citing their concern about the passion and “motor” of a player. Or two, they could look at other certifiably insane players currently in the NFL (*cough* Ray Lewis *cough*) and the success they’ve enjoyed.

Quinton Coples has faced questions about his work ethic following a sub-standard senior season. Some, including Charlie Casserly, attribute the drop off in production to misuse after Coples was switched from defensive tackle to defensive end in 2011. An ideal fit for an edge rusher in a 3-4 defense, let’s take a closer look at the Chapel Hill enigma.


Height: 6’6

Weight: 284 pounds

Class: Senior

Born: June 22 , 1990

Combine Numbers

40-yard dash: 4.78

Vertical jump: 31.5 inch

Broad jump: 109 inch

Bench Press: 25 reps at 225 pounds

Three cone drill: 7.57

20-yard shuttle: 4.78

Arm length: 33 1/4 inches

Hands: 10 1/4 inches

College Stats

2011: 13 GP  55  Tackles  15  Tackles For Loss   7.5 Sacks

2010: 13 GP 59 Tackles  15.5 Tackles For Loss  10 Sacks

2009: 12 GP  22 Tackles  6.5 Tackles For Loss  5 Sacks

2008: 12 GP  8 Tackles  3.5 Tackles For Loss  1.5 Sacks

What the experts say

 Charlie Casserly

In game film from 2010, I saw a much better player. Coples primarily played DT, but also played a different style. The coaches asked him to come off the ball hard and not to sit at the line of scrimmage and read the blocking schemes. He played much better. He rushed the passer well. He played the run more physical. His effort was not an issue. I think Coples is a prospect who needs to be in a style of play where he comes hard off the ball and has some room to operate, with not a lot to read at the line of scrimmage. This is when he has played like a first-round pick.

National Football Post

(Coples) can be as good as he wants to be in the NFL. The game comes very easy to him and he can be dominant if he learns to use his arms even better to slip blocks in the pass game, but with more time I expect that to improve. The sky is the limit as long as he’s willing to work at his trade and keep his motor running.

 Rob Rang

(Coples was) investigated by the NCAA for attending draft-day parties with former teammates Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn, but was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. Added 30 pounds since signing with North Carolina. Immaturity and selfishness apparent when asked to move back inside to defensive tackle in the middle of his senior season; he refused for fear it would hurt his draft stock.

Bryan Broaddus

(Coples) will most likely be the first end taken, but starting to hear more and more questions about his effort and intensity, so it will be something to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft to see if he were to slide out of the top 10.

Len Pasquarelli

The early read on North Carolina defensive lineman Quinton Coples is that he is an end, not a tackle, in terms of NFL projections. There were a few personnel people who felt Coples might be able to move inside, but his weight at the Senior Bowl (281 pounds), length, and propensity for playing a big high at times and not always being a leveraged defender, likely make him an end candidate. That certainly won’t be enough to drop Coples out of the first round, but cuts his options a bit. The sense from a few scouts in Mobile is that Coples will be a 4-3 end, and that, in addition to not being able to play tackle, he is a dubious prospect for a 3-4 front.


In addition to his tremendous physical talent, however, Coples has the two biggest red flags a player can have; motor and passion. Coples disappeared at times for North Carolina, and I’m not just talking about on the stat sheet, either. There were games I watched this season where Coples showed little or no effort, and it was never more evident than in his team’s bowl game.

Bob Sturm

Coples body type is that classic basketball power forward frame. His athleticism is fantastic. And he over-matches his blocker on a regular basis with quickness and an array of moves that is tough to deal with. The fact that he “only” accounted for 48 explosive plays (sacks + tackles for loss) in his last two seasons is laughable. That ratio of over 2 explosive plays per game in a major conference is well above others in this draft class who are being considered for Round 1. If he did that while “not trying”, then I think I can live with it.

 Mike Mayock

I am not a Quinton Coples guy. He looks the part, he’s pretty, he’s got all kinds of ability and he’s going to remind people of Julius Peppers. That all sounds pretty good, but I’d be scared to death there, because he did not play well or hard as a senior.

Amongst draftniks, there is clear concern about Coples’ passion for the game.  He impressed at the Senior bowl, showing he could be dominant at any given moment.

For Coples, the team that selects him has to be the right fit. Aaron Maybin needed a kick in the ass from Rex Ryan after a few terrible years in Buffalo. A team with a strong veteran presence in the locker room would be ideal. Teams who match that criteria aren’t picking  in the top 10.