You never want to read too much into which teams are bringing in which players for interviews before the draft. Teams visit with a lot of players, as it’s a big part of the evaluation process, knowing they won’t be able to draft over half of them. Smart teams prepare themselves for every possible scenario and will use player visits as a way to get to know future opponents or possible free agents down the line just as much as to see if a player is a fit for their team and of course occasionally there’s the smokescreen visit.
It is however a little late in this draft process for teams to be wasting their time on smokescreens, especially when talking about a once sure-fire top 10 pick whose stock seems to be slipping. The Jets bringing in Quenton Coples for a visit this week, as reported by ESPN’s Josina Anderson, doesn’t feel like a smokescreen though. What it feels like is a team in the mind state of draft the best player available and if Coples falls to them at 16 he will likely be among the top names on their board.
The timing of the visit makes sense because a month ago everyone thought Coples was a lock to go top 10, now there’s talk his stock is falling and there’s a chance he may be there at 16. So if the Jets like him even a little bit, the smart move is to bring him in for a closer look. No one questions that Coples is a freakish talent (has drawn comparisons to Julius Peppers), but there are some questions about what position he fits best and more importantly about his desire as many scouts have said he appeared to mail in his performance last season.
To most, Coples projects best as a 4-3 defensive end, but he also has the ability to play inside as a three-technique and some scouts believe he could play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. With his type of talent and versatility Rex Ryan could have a lot of fun drawing up different roles for him. They would be foolish to not even consider him if available at 16, but the question would be how much consideration would/should he get?
Just how high on the Jets draft board is Coples right now? Is he near their top 5? Top 10? Is he higher or lower on the board than Melvin Ingram and Michael Floyd? How about Upshaw?
These are questions that we obviously can’t answer right now and we may never be able to answer in some cases. Floyd is unlikely to be there at 16 and the truth is, despite his recent stock falling, it would still be surprising if Coples fell to 16, but that’s not the point anyway. The point is all signs are pointing to the Jets making the right choice by going with the best available player, whoever that turns out to be.
This doesn’t mean the Jets won’t trade up if they really want Ingram, or Coples even, and they don’t think either will fall to them and it doesn’t mean they won’t trade down if Ingram, Floyd, Barron and Coples and anyone else they might love at 16 is already gone. What it means is they are locking their sights on a few select players and if they stay at 16 they will draft whichever available player they are most in love with.
Which as a fan of a team is all you can ask for. Hope your team stays true to their board as it’s the best way to get that impact player every fan dreams for when they hear their team’s selection being announced.
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