Dallas Cowboys: Quinton Coples

Looking at the picks: Rounds 1-3

May, 8, 2014
May 8
IRVING, Texas -- After looking at the history of the selections the Dallas Cowboys have in Rounds 4-7 on Wednesday, here is a look at Rounds 1-3.

Click here for the late-round review.

First round (No. 16)
2009 LB Larry English, San Diego
2010 DE Derrick Morgan, Tennessee
2011 LB Ryan Kerrigan
2012 LB Quinton Coples, NY Jets
2013 QB EJ Manuel

Notable: Manuel was something of a surprise pick last year but had some moments as a starter before getting hurt. Morgan’s rookie season was cut short by a knee injury, but he’s recorded 12.5 sacks the past two seasons. Kerrigan is solid. Coples is something of an enigma after his first two seasons but has some pass-rush ability.

Second round (No. 47)
2009 S Mike Mitchell, Oakland
2010 LB Daryl Washington, Arizona
2011 TE Lance Kendricks, St. Louis
2012 LB Bobby Wagner, Seattle
2013 TE Gavin Escobar, Cowboys

Notable: Escobar is the third second-round pick the Cowboys have used at tight end since 2006 and caught just nine passes as a rookie. He needs a huge 2014 season. Wagner was on the Cowboys’ radar in 2012 but the trade up for Morris Claiborne ended that chance. Mitchell was a controversial pick but found a home last year in Carolina and signed a lucrative deal with Pittsburgh in the offseason.

Third round (No. 78)
2009 OL Louis Vasquez, San Diego
2010 WR Brandon LaFell, Carolina
2011 WR Austin Pettis, St. Louis
2012 TE Michael Egnew, Miami
2013 WR Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo

Notable: A track standout at Texas, Goodwin caught 17 passes for 283 yards and three scores last season. Pettis has been a solid backup receiver with 95 catches for 916 yards and eight touchdowns for his career. LaFell signed with New England in the offseason after catching a career-high 49 passes in 2013. Vasquez made his first Pro Bowl last year after signing with Denver.

A look at the 16th, 17th pick

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will not know until a coin flip at the NFL scouting combine if they or the Baltimore Ravens will pick 16th or 17th in the first round of the May draft.

The only time the Cowboys used the 16th pick in the draft came in 1961 when they selected E.J. Holub in the second round. They have not taken a player with the 17th overall pick since cornerback Kevin Smith in 1992. Before that? In 1990 they took Emmitt Smith, who is now the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

What type of player has been available at Nos. 16 and 17? Here’s a look at the past 10 years.

2013 – EJ Manuel, Buffalo; Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh
2012 – Quinton Coples, New York Jets; Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati
2011 – Ryan Kerrigan, Washington; Nate Solder, New England
2010 – Derrick Morgan, Tennessee; Mike Iupati, San Francisco
2009 – Larry English, San Diego; Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay
2008 – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona; Gosder Cherilus, Detroit
2007 – Justin Harrell, Green Bay; Jarvis Moss, Denver
2006 – Jason Allen, Miami; Chad Greenway, Minnesota
2005 – Travis Johnson, Houston; David Pollack, Cincinnati
2004 – Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia; D.J. Williams, Denver
2003 – Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Bryant Johnson, Arizona.

Polamalu is by far the best player selected in either spot. He will be in the Hall of Fame. There are quality players in there like Williams, Greenway, Rodgers-Cromartie, Iupati, Solder and Kerrigan. Andrews had a pretty good short run as well. Kerrigan is solid and has done some good things versus the Cowboys. Coples has showed some pass rush his first two seasons. I expected more from Kirkpatrick, who was on the Cowboys’ radar in 2012.

The Cowboys held the No. 18 pick in 2013 and traded down to No. 31 with the Niners where they took Travis Frederick. They felt they were in a position to trade down and still pick up a quality player. When they saw Eric Reid, Justin Pugh, Kyle Long and Tyler Eifert go off the board in the next four picks they were left sweating it out until they got Frederick.
It's hard to predict where the Cowboys will go with the 14th pick of the first round in the NFL draft in a few weeks.

The projections have moved from offensive to defense.

After the Cowboys spent $30 million in free agency on offensive linemen Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, it would be easy to assume defense is where the team will focus it's attention at No. 14.

But if you look closely at the pass rushers available -- Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram are all projected to be available in the teens -- team officials believe they're not much different from Anthony Spencer.

The only major difference is Spencer's experience over Upshaw, Coples and Ingram.

Cornerback appears out with the Cowboys giving Brandon Carr, a five-year $50.1 million deal.

Safety is a possibility even with the team signing Brodney Pool to a one-year deal in free agency. Mark Barron, the safety from Alabama, is a good selection. But say the Cowboys don't get him?

Which brings me back to the offense.

Maybe the Cowboys take a chance on an interior lineman.

Guards David DeCastro and Cordy Glenn and center Peter Konz are players who can move right in and start.

If you take Konz, you got your starting center to go along with guards Livings and Bernadeau. Pair that up with tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free and you have a pretty imposing offensive line for DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo.

You build a strong offensive line and you can run the ball with efficiency and keep Romo protected in the pocket. Of course, a new offensive line would need time to develop with five new pieces.

Smith and Free are switching spots at tackle, and you'd have three new interior linemen.

It's OK if the Cowboys stick with a defensive player in the first round, but there's nothing wrong with grabbing an interior linemen.
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the team is open to drafting a defensive player with the 14th pick of the first round.


Which side of the ball should the Cowboys address with their first-round pick?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,861)

The Cowboys' signings of two offensive linemen in free agency, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, has moved the franchise to look at defensive players in the draft as possible selections with the first pick.

"It would look like it was going to be potentially top defensive players there as opposed to a receiver or as opposed to a running back," Jones said. "But you’re going to have some good depth or some good selection opportunities at that level where we are on the offensive line. So all of those areas you’d have to look at. We’d have to take into consideration that we’ve done pretty well in free agency relative to our offensive line. We have to take that into consideration if we had the alternative of taking it on the defense. So you’re not off base when you ask is it likely that would be a defensive player."

Jones said he was impressed with Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Scouts Inc. has him ranked as the 10th best player in the draft and ESPN's Mel Kiper's Big Board has Poe going to the Carolina Panthers at No. 9.

"I'm impressed with him," Jones said. "I'm real impressed. I'm particularly impressed cause he looks like a nose [tackle] and has the skill and has some pass rush about him at the five technique. I'm impressed with him."

LSU's Michael Brockers and North Carolina's Quinton Coples are also possibilities.

Draft preview series: North Carolina DE Quinton Coples

March, 25, 2012

The 11th installment of our draft preview series looks at North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.

Scouts Inc. ranks: No. 1 defensive end, No. 7 overall
Bio: Two-time first-team All-ACC selection. Finished his college career with 144 tackles, 24 sacks and five forced fumbles. Led the Tar Heels with 15.5 tackles for losses and 7.5 sacks last season. As a defensive tackle in 2010, he had 15.5 tackles for losses and 10 sacks.

[+] EnlargeQuinton Coples
AP Photo/Gerry BroomeNorth Carolina DE Quinton Coples has the talent to be dominant, but there are some questions about his motor.
Size: 6-foot-5 , 284 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.71 seconds
225-pound bench press reps: 25
Vertical jump: 31.5 inches
Broad jump: 9-foot-1
20-yard shuttle: 4.78 seconds
Three-cone drill: 7.57 seconds

Broaddus Breakdown (viewed Miami, Virginia Tech and Missouri games): Usually lined up at right defensive end for the Tar Heals but played some left end, as well, and even some tackle. … If you were to physically draw up with a 3-4 base end would look like, he would be your model. When I worked for Bill Parcells and we were switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4, this was the perfect height and weight that he wanted at end. The first guy that we were able to get like this was Chris Canty from Virginia. … Runs and moves well. Has some initial quickness out of his stance, but he showed some snaps where he got a little tall coming out of his stance and was a little late. … When he was ready to play, he did a nice job of getting up the field. Showed the ability to dip his shoulder and get around the corner. He has a burst to threaten the edge. Can really put some pressure on the tackle when rushing. … Did a nice job of showing some power with a rip move against Miami and also fighting through the double-team block. … There were some questions about his motor and if it ran all the time, but against Virginia Tech showed hustle and effort to chase the ball. … Was very impressive with the way he ran in space. This guy is an outstanding athlete. … Did a nice job of playing with his hands against Missouri both run and pass, but against Miami and Virginia Tech, thought he could have done a better job disengaging with the blocker quicker. … Showed a nice arm-over move that freed himself on an upfield rush against the Tigers. … When he wants to rush, he can be outstanding. He really does have the talent to be dominant, but he doesn’t always play that way. … Mentioned that he played some defensive tackle. If he goes to a 3-4 team, you will see him do more of this in the nickel. His first-step quickness and length would give guards plenty of trouble. Showed the ability to get push inside in the Missouri game. …Will most likely be the first end taken, but starting to hear more and more questions about his effort and intensity, so it will be something to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft to see if he were to slide out of the top 10.

Cowboys position series: Defensive line

February, 13, 2012
This is the seventh installment of our 12-part series breaking down the Cowboys roster. Today we look at the defensive line.

[+] EnlargeCowboys
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesJason Hatcher (4.5) and Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff (2.0) had the lion's share of the 10.5 sacks compiled by the Cowboys' defensive line last season.
Players: NT Jay Ratliff (signed through 2017), DE Jason Hatcher (signed through 2013), DE Marcus Spears (signed through 2014), DE Kenyon Coleman (signed through 2012), NT/DE Sean Lissemore (signed through 2013), NT Josh Brent (signed through 2013), DE Clifton Geathers (exclusive rights free agent), NT/DE Robert Callaway (signed futures contract)

Top free agents: DE Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals; DE Mario Williams, Houston Texans; NT Sione Pouha, New York Jets; DE Jason Jones, Tennessee Titans; DE Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions.

Top draft prospects: DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina; DT/DE Michael Brockers, LSU; NT Brandon Thompson, Clemson; NT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State; DT Devon Still, Penn State.

2011 review: The defensive line performed respectably against the run for the most part. However, it left a lot to be desired in the pass-rushing department. The Cowboys’ defensive line combined for only 10.5 sacks, led by Hatcher (4.5). Ratliff made his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance despite his sacks total declining for the fourth consecutive year. He finished the season with two sacks, tied with reserve Lissemore for second among the team’s defensive linemen. Coleman and Spears were solid against the run but nonfactors against the pass, which is particularly a problem with a secondary as vulnerable as the Cowboys'.

Offseason preview: The Cowboys need more playmaking at this position. Maybe they get that by moving Ratliff to defensive end, a subject that gets discussed every offseason but has not been seriously considered since he established himself as the starting nose tackle. Coples and Brockers, the best 3-4 defensive end prospects in the draft, are likely to be gone by the time the Cowboys get on the clock with the 14th overall pick. Arizona’s Campbell, who dominated Doug Free when the Cowboys played the Cardinals this season, would be a major upgrade in free agency. However, there’s a decent chance that the Cardinals will use the franchise tag to prevent one of the NFL’s best 3-4 ends from testing the open market this offseason.

Bryan Broaddus' Scout's Eye: When the Cowboys played well on defense last season it was usually because the defensive line was handling the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. When things were going badly, I could usually tell on tape it was because the line wasn't getting off blocks and struggling with the pressure. The biggest problem I had with the line was at defensive end. The team lost Stephen Bowen to the Redskins and in my view, that was a tough blow for the defense. The club brought back Spears and Hatcher but also signed Coleman. Hatcher moved into Bowen's role with Spears and Coleman as the starters. As the season wore on, Coleman wore down and his play hurt the defense. Spears was up and down as well. Where there is a need of an upgrade would be at end. I am a big fan of Lissemore and I would not be surprised to see him in the starting lineup next season for Coleman or at nose if Ratliff shifts to end. Speaking of nose, Ratliff made the Pro Bowl which surprised me. I like Ratliff and respect the way he played, but there were times where he was clearly better than the centers that he was playing against and he didnt always take advantage of the matchup. Ratliff doesn't always face double teams. Where Ratliff struggles the most is when he gets wore down. That's why guys like Brent and Lissemore are key to keeping him as fresh as possible. I like the nose men on this team but the front office needs to find some upgrades at end to give the defense a chance.

Need meter (0-5): 3