Background and Character Had Coples entered the NFL Draft following his junior season, perhaps there wouldn't be so much question surrounding his work ethic and motor after a lackluster senior season. Coples' production last season was well-below his junior campaign and one has to wonder if he was protecting himself for draft day. Coples claims that moving inside and outside between defensive tackle and defensive end effected his production, but his attitude and motor remain a concern. Too often falling victim to possessing unique natural ability, Coples' willingness to accept and respond to coaching is another large question leading up to his professional debut. For as great as Coples can be with literally no cap on his potential, it's a shame that he isn't more of a team leader. Amidst the scandal that rocked Chapel Hill, Coples did find a way to keep his name out of the ordeal. He also committed to the weight room and gained 30 pounds between freshman and sophomore year.
Coples possesses the prototypical body type and frame of a pass-rushing defensive lineman at the next level. Coples is very tall and his weight is distributed well amongst his frame. For a man of his size, Coples' running ability is impressive and he can change direction like a true athlete. As an athlete that could easily be caught out of position because of his size, Coples retains balance in both his upper and lower body. Coples has naturally quick feet that drastically help him in other aspects of his game (i.e. tackling, rushing). Coples is plenty fast enough in terms of straight-line speed and very little is compromised during change of direction. However,Coples' closing speed is very unimpressive. Thanks in large part to his immense length, Coples makes up for his limited closing speed and lateral movement, as it's far from elite. Like football players that we've seen in the past from the University of North Carolina, Coples is built like a small forward with enough bulk to find more of a natural calling on the gridiron.
Big questions surround Coples' motor and effort throughout a game. Coples has the ability to read and react as a natural football player, but he can be caught playing at half-speed and he quickly becomes an easy block for the opponent. When he chooses to be, Coples can be aggressive off the edge with his immense size serving as the inital intimidation. Coples possesses a more natural quickness in his feet than his actual movement. Often times, Coples relies on his length to make up for his limited lateral quickness. The same can be said for his range, as Coples has the potential to eat up a large block of space, but it's typically only a result of his size and not necessarily his speed in pursuit. But amongst any and all flaws with his technique, it's likely Coples' motor and effort that create the biggest risk factor for teams looking to draft him.
Coples is best-suited as a pass-rushing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme where he would look to outmanuever the tackle with his speed and athleticism. Coples' repetoire of rush moves are limited, in large part because he doesn't effectively use his hands to create space and avoid being sealed by the offensive line. At the next level, Coples must develop moves to get past tackles. Although it may have been a question of effort, Coples didn't get behind his pads last season to really take advantage of the numerous mismatches presented. With his sheer height, arm length and weight alone, Coples is an expected winner in most battles for leverage on the field. However, because he doesn't initiate with his hands and use them effectively, Coples doesn't always get leverage on his blocker. After playing on the inside, Coples has experience at power-rushing, but he lacks the bulk necessary to become a 4-3 defensive tackle and his strength isn't enough to penetrate without skillful moves. Coples is a solid tackler that won't miss much--he has long arms to wrap-up and the size to pull people down. Even if his anticipation is incorrect, Coples can usually assist in the tackle.