BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is tackled by defensive end Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
North Carolina continues to send its alumni to the Big Apple, as defensive end Quinton Coples was drafted 16th by the New York Jets last night. There had been a lot of talk earlier in the evening that the Carolina Panthers, who had the ninth pick, were interested him, but they instead chose Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly; Coples instead was the second defensive end (after Bruce Irvin) and fifth defensive lineman taken overall.
Coples will be expected to contribute quickly, and Jets fans seem pretty excited by the pick. Despite his versatility, Rex Ryan has been quoted as wanting to keep him on the line, and this may indicate a change in their defensive scheme. He seems pleased with the pick, and doesn't see a problem with Coples' drop-off in play his senior season. The Jets were fifth in the NFL in overall defense, and particularly strong against the pass, so I don't know how likely a change in defense might be.
Coples will join both Hakeem Nicks and Marvin Austin, both on the Giants, in New York. He's the first Tar Heel to be drafted by the Jets since Leon Johnson and Rick Terry were both taken by the team in 1997. Overall, there were only three ACC players drafted last night — Coples, Kuechly, and Virginia Tech running back David Wilson with the New York Giants' final pick.
With Coples off the board, Dwight Jones becomes the Carolina pick most likely to be drafted. Patriots fans, at least, appear interested, so look for him to go late in the evening or possibly Saturday.