Leading up to the NFL Draft, Mike Mayock slammed the Jets soon to be first round draft pick, saying this on NFL Network just a few weeks before the draft.
“If I’m a general manager I’m not taking [Coples] in the first round, and I might not take him in the second round.”
Mayock acknowledged Coples’ talent — he is the top-rated defensive end in Mayock’s prospect rankings — as well as Coples’ value in the league as a pass rusher, but there’s a huge caveat.
“To me, the bust potential is high, and the earlier you take him the more risk there is inherent in that,” Mayock said. “So, for me, Quinton Coples is not even a draftable player.”
While there were some questions at that point, the floodgates of doubt seemed to open on Coples and his stock steadily lowered as the draft approached. Rex Ryan knew Coples was his kind of player, the team had spent time with Coples leading up to the draft, Rex even worked Coples out in linebacker drills himself during the UNC Pro Day to see whether or not he would be a fit in the Jets defense. While Coples isn’t playing linebacker, it was a sign that Ryan wanted to see just how athletic and versatile this player could be. Apparently he liked what he saw.
So after Coples first pro game last weekend, Ryan has been incorrigible, crowing every chance he gets to talk to the media about Coples and how he thinks he’ll fit in with the Jets as a pro.
Yesterday, Ryan compared Coples to the Giants JPP, a player who had 16.5 sacks last year.
Via the Star-Ledger.
“[Coples and Pierre-Paul] are two unusual talents. … They’re unusual guys,” Ryan said. “Hopefully Quinton can be the same kind of player Pierre-Paul ended up being. This guy really gets it.”
Ryan said the two players had similar measurables coming out of college, except that Coples is an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier, and Pierre-Paul has longer arms “that reach for days.”
Ryan heard all the chatter about the Jets pick and of Coples himself, and seems to be on the offensive at this point.
Ryan has brought up the word “bust” unprompted two straight days, today bristling, “I’m sure it’s a bust pick; we’ll find out.”
“Oh come on, go back and read all the things the experts said,” Ryan said, when asked if he felt that was the perception. “The difference is the experts watched the tape. We knew what we were getting. I’m not saying every single person thought it was a bust, because that’s not accurate.”
While “draft grades” are one of the most vapid inventions ever created by sports journalists, the Jets rarely got above a C for their draft class in most of them this year, and we’re sure it bothered Rex. Just about a month ago, the world learned that Rex Ryan was a changed man. Thanks to Jenny Vrentas’s amazing article, we learned that Rex had taken a long look at himself this offseason and realized that he needed to change the way he was doing things, or else. After some intense interviews with players and coaches and after working with a “sensei” to center himself, he came to training camp changed.
Just over two weeks ago, Ryan acknowledged that he put too much pressure on his players by making bold predictions in year’s past.
“The arrows weren’t just coming on me,” Ryan said of the fallout of his past predictions. “They were coming on my players. That’s not what I wanted. If we weren’t going to succeed, I knew I would be getting – that the bullets should be coming my way. I understand that. But I never wanted to put the added pressure on the team. That wasn’t it. I thought by making that guarantee it was only going to come down on me. But that wasn’t the case. But maybe (the media) would have said, ‘Didn’t you figure that out?’ No… I never figured that out. But I certainly did at the end of the season.”
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.comCoples projects to be a good player for the Jets, but the question has to be asked, is Rex already straying from his “sensei’s” teachings and turning it up instead of toning it down?
For good or ill, I’m sold on Quinton Coples. I was surprised at the pick, but liked it on draft night because once Tannehill, Barron and Poe went and then the Seahawks took Irvin, it essentially gave the Jets an array of defensive talent that was talked about as mid-round options. Quinton Coples, Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, Whitney Mercilus were all other names that could have been realistically called by the Jets if they stayed on their spot, or even traded back. The Jets took their best man and while it’s early, it’s looking good.
The question of course is whether or not the Jets head coach is starting to put undue pressure on his rookie? I’m sure Coples would say no if asked in an interview, but the changed Rex also compared Demario Davis to Ray Lewis back in May. While no one really seems to share specifics on how Ryan has been challenged by his sensei this offseason, one would expect that the overly bold talk was part of their discussions. It’s one thing when Rex says of himself he believes in himself or his team, but it’s another when comparisons are made to players who are regarded as the among the very best at their position before the rookies even play a regular season snap. It’s not a bad thing to fiercely believe in others as Rex does, it’s actually kind of admirable. But his fierce belief in his players is also a trap for which the general sports media delights to spring on Rex, maybe because he just can’t resist taking the bait every time. At the end of the day, we want Rex to still be Rex, but maybe he’s been busy with the start of camp and all, so maybe it’s a good time for the head coach to check in with his sensei?