BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is tackled by defensive end Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples has widely been regarded as the top defensive end prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, but the biggest knock against him is not his talent--it's his motivation. Never quite reaching his potential while at North Carolina, Coples draft stock is hard to gauge. Many mock drafts have Coples going in or close to the top ten, and Sports Illustrated draft guru Tony Pauline has him as his No. 5 overall prospect, however, almost all analysis of Coples comes with a "just so you know, he has some issues" disclaimer.
ESPN's Todd McShay is no different. According to Pro Football Talk's Evan Silva, McShay believes that come draft day, Coples' motivation problems may have his draft stock fall all the way to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 17.
Defensive end is not a primary need for the Bengals, so if this selection happens it would be a strictly "best player available" pick. Quinton Coples is 6 foot 6 inches, 284 lbs, and ran a 4.72 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. At North Carolina, Coples compiled a stat line of 59 tackles and 10 sacks in 2010, but regressed slightly in 2011 only having 55 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
Physically, Coples is a monster, and the only true problems concern his motivation and willingness to play hard on every snap. Should those become non-issues, then the pick of Coples at No. 17 would be an undeniable steal. But concerns are hard to overlook, and many, including Tony Pauline, have trouble overlooking the glaring maturity issues. He perfectly summed up the Coples situation in his pre-combine analysis:
Coples, simply put, is an enigma. He has all the tools to be a dominant end, yet he never put it all together at North Carolina. His overall talent and positional value keep him hovering around the top ten, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him slide on draft day.
Close to two months later, Todd McShay echos the identical sentiments and leaves us with an interesting question. What would you think of a Quinton Coples selection at No. 17?