Perhaps the first thing you notice about Quinton Coples standing next to him is how large a well-proportioned human being he is. He stands 6’6″, 284, with a 33¼-inch arms at the end of which are 10¼-inch hands.
His body is all business and quite impressive when draped in his draft-night sartorial choice of a silver business suit and powder-blue tie.
Not to mention pointed black leather shoes that went on forever. How big is his foot?
“Size 15,” “Q” said a his little laugh. “It helps me with my balance.”
Body aside, he has that engaging chuckle. No doubt that bugged a few draft watchers, who felt Coples was a little inconsistent, maybe a little less than 100 percent serious about the game. But it’s a little personal trait that also may well endear him to fans and reporters after he takes down Tom Brady once or twice to prompt a new Jets cheer of “Kyooooo!” — and indicates an ability to handle the slings and arrows that he’s already faced leading up to the draft and will feel again if he has a few sackless games as the Jets’ Sweet 16 first pick.
“I definitely let it run off my back,” he said of criticism, adding that coming to New York from Kinston, N.C., and Chapel Hill will not faze him. “Not at all. I know in New York you’re under the microscope all the time. I know there are a lot of things going on. But at the end of the day I just want to be the best player I can be and help the Jets get to the Super Bowl.”
He also had a smile or two for the Jets fans in the Radio City Music Hall balcony, who seemed to greet him with a generally favorable reaction although there was an undercurrent of boos from those who wanted such other pocket pummelers as Melvin Ingram, Courtney Upshaw or Chandler Jones, who all were still on the board when the Jets selected at 16.
“Jets fans? They’re definitely fantastic,” he said, using another one of his trademarks, “definitely.”
Definitely there will be a lot on Coples’ shoulders as he begins his career as a New York Jet in earnest beginning Friday when he is scheduled to make his first appearance at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. His play has drawn mostly awed but still mixed reactions. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, for instance, has said:
“I did not like his senior year tape. I’ve been highly critical of him. However, he showed up at the Senior Bowl and showed he could play like Julius Peppers.”
Peppers, of course, is the 11th-year Panther and now Bear who, before his 100-sack career, was a terror for the Tar Heels.
“I don’t know Julius well but I’ve run into him before,” Coples said, adding with a little smile of healthy pride, “We’re the only two Carolina defensive linemen to be named first-team All-ACC twice. The only two. Ever.”
Coples has a more recent relationship with another Jet that he’ll be joining on the D-line soon. He and DE Muhammad Wilkerson were teammates at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. “Wilk” was there as a post-grad, Coples as a high school senior.
“We didn’t room together but we stayed in the same dormitory,” Q said. “We’ve definitely talked. I saw him at the players’ association party last night.”
One other thing that seems to be a part of the Coples package is a willingness to please, to improve and to impress. His New Year’s resolution is “to take advantage of my opportunities.” And he said that, his silver and blue theme aside, he’ll look good in green and white.
“When Rex got me on the phone tonight, he asked me if I was ready to be a Jet,” Coples said with that infectious smile. “I definitely said yes.”
Tags: Julius Peppers, Mike Mayock, Muhammad Wilkerson, North Carolina, Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan
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