During the Rex Ryan era in New York, it would seem he had free reign of his first-round draft picks given the fact that only one in six years — Mark Sanchez — was an offensive player.
Defensive back Kyle Wilson, defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson, rush linebacker Quinton Coples, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and cornerback Dee Milliner spanned a hit-and-miss tenure that produced some great players for a great defense.
It also produced Wilson, who is now in New Orleans, Milliner, who has struggled through injuries and a steep rookie learning curve, and Coples, a rush end who has been bounced around the defense so much that he hasn’t had the opportunity to master one position.
Under new head coach Todd Bowles, though, the early reports on Coples have been positive.
“He plays with very good violence,” Mark Collins, the team’s outside linebackers coach, told NJ.com. “He can set the edge in the run. He can finish plays in the run game. He can push the pocket. He can affect the quarterback. It doesn’t mean he’s always going to sack the quarterback, but he can affect the quarterback. I definitely think his arrow is pointing up.”
Coples registered a career-high 6.5 sacks last season under what was one of Ryan’s most productive sack defenses. He also had to drop in coverage far more than anyone would like, which will hopefully change under Bowles’ version of the 3-4.
While it’s difficult to label anyone a bust, Jets fans would like to see more out of Coples. Their hopes are indeed high seeing as his fifth-year option was picked up, but will he earn it in 2015?