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Coples, Hill impress Ryan in 1st Jets practice

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: May 4, 2012
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Quinton Coples had just finished his first practice with the New York Jets when he walked to the sideline while everyone else headed toward the locker room.

The first-round draft pick strolled over to the man waiting for him, shook his hand and smiled. It was new team president Neil Glat.

Good move, kid. Talk about a great first impression.

And he wasn't too bad on the field, either.

"Coples was passing guys up on that pursuit drill," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Friday after the team's first rookie minicamp practice. "I know it's not an official stat and I don't know how many sacks he had last year, but he had about six today."

Coples was drafted No. 16 overall last week after an impressive career at North Carolina. Ryan has already deemed him a possible starter on the defensive line, and Coples did little to change that thought as the coach praised the young player several times.

"I didn't really notice, but it's always good to get compliments from the head coach," Coples said with a smile. "I'm pretty happy about that."

Coples wasn't the only one singled out by Ryan. Second-round pick Stephen Hill, a wide receiver from Georgia Tech, and third-rounder Demario Davis, a hard-hitting linebacker from Arkansas State, also impressed their new coach during the 2 1/2-hour practice.

"Some of the guys just jumped out at you," Ryan said, "when you look at Coples and you look at Hill, the way they can run, and Davis. It's kind of fun to watch."

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Coples has the size, speed and athleticism to play all along the defensive line and he's ready to make an impact for a Jets defense that welcomes his ability to rush the passer on a regular basis.

While New York ranked fifth in overall defense, its 35 sacks put the Jets in the middle of the pack. Coples, who opened eyes as a junior in 2010 with 10 sacks, could be an impact player for Ryan immediately.

"I'm excited about being a part of his defense," Coples said. "And I'm excited about him coaching me and helping me to become great."

Added Ryan: "We want him, and we want anybody, to have the desire to be great. He's got the God-given ability to be great."

Coples is coming from a defensive system at North Carolina that predominantly used a 4-3 scheme, while the Jets run a 3-4 base defense. That won't be a problem, he insisted. After all, he got the playbook last Friday and was given a 10-DVD set of films showing the Jets' defensive fronts against their opponents last season. He watched them all and was feeling pretty good about himself.

"The defensive scheme, the majority of it is based off of what we got today," Coples said, "so I grasped the majority of the defensive playbook today."

Ryan smiled when told of Coples' confidence.

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