It was late-April. The draft was underway, and the Seahawks shocked the world by reaching for Bruce Irvin over every other DE/OLB in the draft. Then came the New York Jets who had a number of needs. Chief amongst them was Right Tackle, Safety, and DE/OLB. The Jets did what the Jets do- the best marketing maneuver.
They could have selected a natural leader like Melvin Ingram who actually fits their system or maybe the late-riser Chandler Jones. Instead they went with Quinton Coples who is definitely not a 34OLB. He could be a 43DE or a situation 43/34 DT/DE. But he's not a 34OLB, which is what they desperately needed at least one of. They went for Coples because he's got the big name that might sell more jerseys and make more headlines.
But the intrigue doesn't stop there.
In addition to not being a scheme-fit he's not a locker-room fit. He fell on draft boards due to serious concerns about his work-ethic. If he fell to the Ravens where the leaders on that D could get up in his face, that's one thing. But Rex Ryan apparently has forgotten that he doesn't have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to keep the locker-room in order. At the end of the 2011 season the Jets had arguably the worst locker-room in the league, a locker-room in desperate need of leaders. Instead the Jets FO went with a flashy name who needs to be led, and who seems incapable of leading.
After less than a week Quinton Coples claimed to know most of the New York Jets defensive playbook. Think about that. You can'te expect rookies to do that after an entire off-season. Coples claimed to after his first practice. We're talking about a defensive scheme that is vastly different than UNC's where Coples grew a reputation for being an under-achiever me-first player who wasn't interested in picking up an injury that could hurt his draft stock. Head Coach Rex Ryan laughed it off, but the intrigue still doesn't stop there.
2nd-rounder Stephen Hill got his contract done. 1st-rounder Quinton Coples still doesn't have his done, which shouldn't be surprising as many 1st-rounders still haven't gotten their's done. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that the under-achieving me-first Coples didn't participate in the second day of practice. We know it wasn't injury, and he claims it was the coach's decision. I somehow doubt Rex Ryan decided that Coples did indeed master the Jets defensive-scheme after one practice or that Coach Ryan was worried about Coples being injured in non-contact drills.
So what's going on? Probably expedited work on Quinton's contract. I'll be interested to see how hard he plays or doesn't play once they pay him.