Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dolphins interview Quinton Coples at Senior Bowl

Word over the last few days has indicated the Miami Dolphins may be moving to a 4-3 defensive scheme, and lending credence to those reports is a tweet from Ben Volin indicating the Dolphins chatted it up with former North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples Tuesday in Mobile.

Widely regarded as one of the top defensive prospects in the 2012 class and rated by some as the best defensive end on the board, Coples profiles anywhere from a defensive end or defensive tackle in a 4-3 or even outside linebacker in a 3-4, depending how he chooses to handle his weight.

After two seasons as a rotational defensive end for the Tar Heels, Coples moved inside to defensive tackle in the spring of 2010 after starter Marvin Austin was suspended for the entire season. Despite playing out of position, Coples totaled 59 tackles and 10 sacks to earn first-team All-ACC honors. Moving back to defensive end as a senior, Coples racked up 55 tackles and 7.5 sacks and earned all-conference honors for the second consecutive year.

Coples was investigated by the NCAA for attending draft-day parties with Austin and Robert Quinn, but was ultimately cleared of any wrong-doing. There are also concerns about his on-field discipline and work ethic, although he's been nothing short of impressive so far at the Senior Bowl with Scott Wright of saying Coples "was very well spoken" and "should excel in interviews."

Officially measuring in at 6'5¾ and 281 pounds, Coples is actually working on getting lighter and faster to potentially stand up in a 4-3 scheme and drop into coverage. He's extremely athletic with long arms and is a natural pass rusher in either scheme, however.

If the Dolphins shift to the 4-3, they'll need a pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake because that's really been the biggest hole in the front seven over the past few years. Positions like offensive tackle and quarterback (if not addresses in free agency) will be among the others under consideration, though an impressive pre-draft showing by Coples can certainly propel him into consideration for Miami's No. 8 or 9 pick.

Follow all the Dolphins' draft prospect interactions with the 2012 NFL Draft player interest tracker here!