August 30, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets defensive end Quinton Coples (98) tackles Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown (34) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Quinton Coples to Play OLB

Early Thursday morning, it was reported that the Jets would switch Quinton Coples from a defensive end to an outside linebacker. Coples, the Jets’ first round selection in last year’s draft, has been a defensive end all of his career and played fairly well last year after racking up 5.5 sacks (and that’s only while being on the field a meager 47% of the time). This change will definitely be an uphill battle for the 6’6” 290 pound Coples, who will most likely have to lose some weight if he wants to be effective in pass coverage occasionally.

However, this move helps justify the highly controversial selection of Sheldon Richardson. Personally, it would be foolish of someone to question Richardson’s talent because at Missouri he displayed ample talent that would show his success in the NFL. The only concern with this selection was that Richardson did not fit in with the Jets’ defensive scheme, seeing as they play a 3-4 and they already had 2 young and developing ends in Wilkerson and Coples. Richardson most likely wouldn’t succeed as a nose tackle, and making a complete switch to a 4-3 would be risky and would possibly hurt the Jets. However, with Coples now playing OLB it provides an opportunity for Richardson to start in the Jets current 3-4 scheme as a defensive end. This pick that was viewed as an embarrassment to many Jet fans may pay off because of this new repositioning.

With Coples now at OLB, the Defensive line should consist of Wilkerson, Richardson, and possibly Kendrick Ellis or maybe even sixth round draft pick William Campbell, who may even play on the offensive line instead. All in all, this position change will most likely benefit the Jets greatly because it provides an opportunity for both the rookie Richardson and the young Wilkerson to rush the quarterback from positions they feel comfortable playing. If Coples can be successful at OLB and has the ability to be effective both as a rusher and as a coverage linebacker on occasion, he should have great success.

Due to all these factors, this may be the most impactful position change on the Jets since making Tim Tebow a personal protector  last offseason. We can only hope this doesn’t turn out to be just a media move like Tebow’s was.


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Tags: Football New York Jets NFL Quinton Coples Sheldon Richardson

  • John Szeligowski Jr.

    I loved the pick of Richardson expecially when you take into consideration that Ellis has been constantly hurt since he got here, making him unproven still in my eyes, and Devito went to Kansas City. The only thing that could have ruined this pick for me is the consequence of Coples being made an OLB and here it is. What jackasses… all in an effort to keep the 3-4 when there was no possibility of doing it with the draft. What makes this easier to swallow is that Ellis will be hurt again and whoever else they drafted for the O-line won’t be ready to play full time (much like everyone else they’ve picked for the line so late in a draft) so Coples will be rushing the QB anyway. This reads like a book, stop me when you think this sounds familiar….

    • Carson Coudriet

      Yeah John I know exactly what you mean but the Jets seem pretty serious about making Coples an OLB. It’s really tough to predict how the rest of the depth chart will be next year until the Jets declare what is happening with William Campbell. No one really knows for sure if he will play O-line or D-line yet. But I totally agree they should have switched to a 4-3 it would have made everything much easier and better.