Coples in 2010 played interior line which is a huge thing for Coples. As we will see in a little bit he is not your typical speed rusher. He reminds me personally a lot of Justin Tuck in his ability to move a OT with more than just speed. He is extremely physical at the point of attack and is a player that is a 3 down NFL starter right now. Now onto some game tape for Coples.
The first game tape we will look at is UNC vs Mizzou. Coples plays in quite a few spots along the line. Versatility and finding matchups is definitely a strong point for Coples. His first big play of the game actually comes with him lining up in a 3/4 technique. The video I will be referring to is here: Quinton Coples vs Missouri - YouTube
00:37: Coples first big play of the game. We see him lined up in that bastardized 3 tech. The play is a zone right. Coples is extremely fast off the ball, shoots his hands, gains leverage and at the same time penetration. He is able to meet the RB in the backfield for a big time loss.
00:58: Coples is lined up in his more natural 5 tech. His first instinct on this play, and having OLB support to the outside helping on contain, is a cross face rush. Shoots his hands, comes off a touch high and is beat. But, Coples shows high level hand fighting skills, fights across the OT’s body, rips under and forces the QB to move out of the pocket. Showing power moves in a situation like this is extremely encouraging.
1:17: Coples doesn’t crash as the OT in front of him is pulling. Looks to have containment but is still very far upfield and quite high off the ball. This is becoming a trend for Coples, at 6’6 his height could be a disadvantage if he comes off this high.
1:28: Coples with a tremendous jump off the snap. Has OT beaten quite bad. Takes himself out of the play though by rushing to far upfield. Has to be more under control coming off the line. Initial step is biggest positive here though.
1:47: Coples shows that quick first step again. Still a little too high for my liking but able to let the QB see him. Like for him to finish off the play but does take away half the field with his rush. At NFL level his path to QB would be right on target, Mizzou does not drop back like NFL teams.
3:37: Forces an INT. But, this play needs to be a sack. OL does a smart move, everyone blocks down leaving Coples alone. Coples feels this, expects to get trapped but instead its not a QB power but a pass. He has to react to this after defending himself from the trap and recovers. He takes an inside rush which is the negative. But has the awareness to attack the QB’s throwing had to force the poor pass, leads to an INT.
4:10: Shows him shedding an OT for a tackle. Still coming off very high.
4:49: Maybe his best play or second best play of the game. Shoots hands, stifles the OT, sheds him, TFL.
6:27: A very important play. The trap is at Coples. We see him get his hands on the OT, lower his shoulder, take on the trap block and give up 0 ground.
This is the type of play he has to make in the NFL in the rush game.
We will look at one more game of Coples. This is UNC vs Miami. The video I will be referring to will be this one: Quinton Coples vs Miami 2011 - YouTube
First play: Comes down the line to make the tackle. May not be a lot but there are some questions about his motor.
0:32: We see a speed rush from Coples. Unsuccessful but does hurry the throw. Miami, like other colleges, does not do the 9 step drop like NFL teams may. In a 9 step drop Coples pathing is perfect.
1:05: Feels the reach block. Hands already shot out and has control of the OT. Cannot shed him but does next best thing and draws the play out. RB has to cut inside to help. Very good play.
1:14: TE tries to block him. This is a pure power rush on a TE. He beats him like a drum and forces the QB to throw it away. Draws holding penalty.
1:53: We see him lose his outside shoulder but still fighting across his face.
2:02: Playing that Wide-5 spot but his instincts kick in and he still attacks the OL instead of taking advantage of the wide position and forcing the OT to kick deep.
2:08: A good view of him taking on a rush block and creating a stalement. Utterly impressive.
2:16: Takes on two blockers. Does not get home.
2:43: A look at his wide 9 spot and with the TE to him he does not attack the TE. Gets upfield very fast.
2:50: Drawing another holding penalty, so fast off the ball.
3:22*****: The best play on both videos. Absolutely destroys the OT. Unreal push out of his legs.
3:45+3:54: We see two speed rushes out of him. Game tape must see a weakness in this OT for him to show the speed rush this much. First time gets stifled a little. Second time his path his better and gets a sack.
4:25: A fairly negative play for him. Positive is he stifles the OT again and does not looks ground. But reads the play to late and loses his outside shoulder.
4:35: Last play, Coples shows his resilience against the run again and keeps leverage.
But that is enough film for us amateurs to look at to get a very vague idea about a player. As I would love to sit down and watch more availability and time are two things that are an issue but let’s go with what we have.
First let’s look at the negatives.
First his pad level off the ball is pretty atrocious. The issue is he is 6’6. Height is a great thing, it is the one thing that can’t be coached, and in his case will be a help at times but also a detriment. He comes off so high that some OT’s in the league that are a bit shorter will have a nice avenue of attack into his midsection. This will most definitely be an issue but is also something that can be corrected…to a point.
His awareness in the backfield. We see him a bit lost on a few option reads. I understand that is something he won’t be seeing that much and maybe none at all in the NFL. But his awareness is lacking. His pathing while trying to cut down RBs and QBs is not great once he has to react. This is film work. And as film is lacking at the college level hopefully he will improve upon this.
His speed rush. It can be quite ugly. He takes a tremendously deep route. Now in the NFL it will be a bit better but QBs are more apt to step up in the pocket and let you run around. But the extra few steps may help him a bit, still though he will be going against much tougher competition and that has to be a concern. The speed rush is the great equalizer for DE’s. It is something that he HAS to improve on.
Hands. His hands are fantastic. I didn’t get to much into it above but if you go back and watch the video’s you will see that his hand placement is great. He is attacking the OT’s chest and outside shoulder. He never takes on the entire OT on a pass rush and while playing the run he is inside of the OL. This is a tremendous thing for a young player. Watch Jared Allen and his hand placement. It is a thing of beauty. Now Jason Pierre-Paul is a player who’s hand placement is not as great and he relies a lot more on his athleticism to bail him out. Fortunately Coples seems to have this part down.
Run game: He’s not afraid to get dirty. Plays inside, moves around, and gets off the ball. I’ll put his first step off the ball here too. As that may be his best asset but fits into each area. With that step and the shooting of his hands he is able to establish his position across the line of scrimmage. You do not see him engaging the OL on his side of the ball. And in the run game this is an enormous positive. A stalemate is a win for a DL in the run game and Coples does this, and sometimes even better by gaining ground into the backfield.
Power Rush: You don’t need me to say it again but hands/feet. These are the first steps to an elite power pass rush. But it’s his reaction in the middle of the pass rush that is just as good. He doesn’t go for a finesse swim or spin move. He goes for the bull rush and rip to attack the OL. Gets his hands onto the OL shoulder pad, lifts, and rips under. It’s definition of a power rush. His bull rush is just as good as he gets his legs under him and pushes that OL back with pure force. It really is a thing of beauty.
I think this essay is good enough. Anymore questions or if you have another video of Coples I’d be more than happy to look at it. If you see something that I missed or didn’t comment on please add onto what I’ve put in as well. This was very fun and I look forward to doing more.
Some closing highlight videos
Quinton Coples NFL Draft Analysis - 2010 Season - YouTube
Defensive End Rankings 2012 NFL Draft 1.0 - YouTube