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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: North Carolina DE Quinton Coples

02.22.12 at 8:12 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Quinton Coples sacks James Madison quarterback Justin Thorpe. (AP)

QUINTON COPLES

Position: Defensive End

School: North Carolina

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 285 pounds

Achievements: 2010 first-team All-ACC, 2011 Lombardi Award candidate, 2011 Hendricks Award candidate

What he brings: A strong defensive end who brings a lot of length to the line, Coples played as a defensive tackle for a most of last season, a move that showed how versatile he can be. Coples has the athletic tools to be an elite pass rusher but lacks the agility and overall speed that separates the elite defensive ends. Coples has great hands and strength that make him very hard to block without leverage. He’s been mentioned as a less-agile Julius Peppers.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1 (likely via a trade to move up)

Notes: Coples was cleared by the NCAA in the agent scandal that rocked the UNC program in 2010. While playing tackle last season Coples earned All-ACC honors after recording 59 tackles, 15.5 for loss, and 10 sacks. The biggest knock against him besides his lack of burst speed is the question of whether he can play defensive end on the right side. Coples added 30 pounds to his frame while at North Carolina.

Recent articles:

ESPN: UNC players stand out at Senior Bowl

CBS: Coples versatility drawing rave reviews

Video: Here is a collection of clips of Coples against Clemson and Florida State.

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