(Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland / USA Today Sports).

(Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland / USA Today Sports).

by WESLEY SYKES (@Wesley_Sykes)

Last year’s first round pick, defensive end Quinton Coples, played with his hand up on only 27 occasions last year and dropped in coverage a mere 10 times. Yet that was enough for Rex Ryan to switch the six-foot-six, 290-pound Coples to a two-point standing outside linebacker on Thursday.

“I think I’ll be there permanently. We have depth at the D-line position so I definitely think that it will be more of a permanent job more than a back-and-forth thing, but you never know, a package could come up where I could also play defensive line as well. So either way I’ll be prepared,” Coples said to the media Thursday afternoon.

As a rookie Coples did have a team-high 5.5 sacks for the Jets, but that was predominantly done as an interior rusher. With the addition of 2013 first roundl pick DT Sheldon Richardson, however, Ryan finds himself with a glutinous defensive line while still lacking an outside edge rusher — something that’s been missing from Ryan’s defense since he came to New York.

That’s where Coples comes in. The idea of moving the monstrous Tar Heel to outside linebacker is something Ryan has been toying with since they visited Coples prior to last year’s draft.

“I was working on it [outside linebacker] during my draft process because I didn’t know coming in whether I was going to be an outside linebacker or not from the beginning, but this transition has been good.” Coples said, “So I’m not new to this.”

Regardless of the Jets taking Richardson, moving Coples to the outside could have been in the works as early as the end of last season. During the offseason, Coples did extensive MMA training to improve his speed and hand techniques. 


“It helps with overall quickness. It keeps you physical with your hands and just sharpens all your tools you use when you play,” he said at the uSTADIUM NFL Draft event on April 25th.

When asked to divulge some of the moves he’s picked up and whether we’d see some flashes of John “Bones” Jones on the field this season, he smiled and replied, “stay tuned”.