Today GWR features New York's first-round draft choice, Quinton Coples.
Rex Ryan and the Jets front office rolled the dice on Coples making him the No. 16 overall pick in April's draft. There have been many early returns for Gang Green with the coaching staff running out of superlatives to describe his performance throughout OTA's, rookie camp and minicamp. While several football pundits questioned Coples' coachability and motivation leading up to the draft, the rookie defensive end has delighted the-Green-and-White with a tireless work ethic and excellent grasp of the defensive playbook.
New York is shifting from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 front partly due to Coples' explosive power as an edge pass-rusher. The Jets now pose a formidable duo with second-year defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and Coples teaming up to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Coples is expected to start day-one of the regular season with Gang Green counting on him as an impactful rookie this upcoming season.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine plans to maximize Coples' versatility by utilizing him as a down-lineman as well as a situational outside linebacker. Coples is Ryan's type of player: physically imposing, dynamic and adaptable in multiple formations.
In Ryan's first three years as head coach, the Jets were lacking a pass rushing presence capable of drawing an opponents' double team, but Coples could be just what the doctor ordered. New York's mantra, "One Step Faster," has been embraced by Coples, who is focused on improving his quickness off the ball this offseason.
The Jets defensive coaching staff is emphasizing an increase in quarterback sack total this season as they aim to create pressure up front without being forced to blitz multiple linebackers and safeties. The AFC East is littered with premier defensive ends, most notably Mario Williams with the Buffalo Bills and Cameron Wake with the Miami Dolphins.
While Coples is just a young pup by NFL standards, he'll have plenty of competition within the division to keep him motivated to reach elite status in the seasons to come.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com