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Scouting Report
Widely considered the best defensive lineman in the draft, Coples is expected to be selected early in the first round by a team looking to fortify its pass rush. He boasts an athletic, towering frame and has impressive power and speed that scouts feel will make him an immediate contributor in the NFL with the potential to be among the elite. After his first two seasons as a defensive end at North Carolina, Coples was asked to move inside midway through his junior season - a move he wasn't too happy about for fear it would hurt his draft status. He thrived, though, registering 10 sacks and 15 1/2 tackles for loss before spending most of his outstanding senior season on the end - where he'll likely wind up in the NFL - again. Though the physical tools and production are certainly there, there are concerns about Coples' motor and character. His eligibility was called into question in May 2011 after he attended a post-NFL draft day party, though he was eventually cleared. On the field, he's been known to take some plays off, and some scouts feel his less-than-desirable work ethic will work against him at the next level. But talent evaluators were left with the lasting impression of a brilliant performance at the Senior Bowl, where the comparisons to former Tar Heel Julius Peppers couldn't have looked more spot-on. Unsurprisingly, Coples graded out the highest of any defensive lineman at the Combine, earning a grade of 92.0 while running a 4.78 40-yard dash, doing 25 bench presses, posting a 31 1/2-inch vertical leap and a 9-foot, 1-inch broad jump. Ultimately, questions about Coples' character and work ethic will remain, but his on-field production and potential to be an elite pass rusher right away won't keep a team from spending a top-10 pick on him.
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