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Monday, March 12, 2012
Panthers looking at Quinton Coples

By Pat Yasinskas

The Carolina Panthers are having a neighbor in for a visit Monday.

North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples reportedly is having his pre-draft visit with the team Monday. Although defensive tackles Dontari Poe and Devon Still have been commonly linked to the Panthers at the No. 9 spot, don’t rule out Coples as a possibility.

Defensive end might not seem like a huge priority for the Panthers, but coach Ron Rivera wants to make his defense as explosive as possible. Coples has the tools to be a disruptive pass-rusher and that would only help Carolina’s entire defense.

The knock you see in draft reports on Coples is that he doesn’t show up on every play. Gee, does that sound familiar to Carolina fans?

That was the exact same knock that followed Julius Peppers, another North Carolina defensive end, when he entered the league in 2002. Peppers quickly shed that label as he produced 12 sacks as a rookie. Peppers was a little streaky at times, but he produced double-digit sacks in six of his eight seasons in Carolina and offenses always had to account for him.

If the Panthers think Coples can be anything like Peppers, they have to at least consider drafting him.