Quick, what is the first thing that jumps into your mind when the following names are mentioned? Andrew Luck, David DeCastro, Quinton Coples, Maurice Clairborne, and Zach Brown. If you have been following the draft media and bloggers closely, you may have likely said in order: can't miss hall of famer, can't miss hall of famer, slacker, best CB in the draft by far, and speed but no "football instincts". Sometimes certain analytic buzzwords are applied to a certain prospect and repeated until those words, and nothing else, become the focus of us fans and bloggers. I'm not going to say such analysis is completely wrong; I just do not believe that it should be an adamant "end-all, be-all" on your opinion of a prospect.
I wish to focus on one of the apparent front-runners for our first-round pick, Mr. Quinton Coples. Just the mere mention of his name draws some immediate decisive and divisive conclusions amongst the CSR community. I think some fans picture a guy whose modus operandi is to loaf around, stand still after the ball is snapped, and to only step things up against teams like Duke and James Madison. This conclusion in itself is not correct. While I do believe Coples has shown questions about his dreaded "motor" during some games, I wish to present visual evidence that this should not be the total and sole analysis of his game performances.
In this first game against Miami, keep in mind that this is not a highlight video of top ten clips during the season. I also want you to keep in mind that the gentleman he is mostly going against, #72 Brandon Washington, is considered to be third-round talent in this year's draft. I want you to draw your own conclusion on his effort based upon what you saw.
Quinton Coples vs Miami 2011 (via JMPasq)
Seemingly, playing in an insignificant "mid-major" bowl out in Shreveport, LA would be cause for selfish players to take a game off. I believe most ACC players would have a preference for the marquee games like the Orange Bowl, Gator Bowl, and/or Chic-Fil-A bowl. View this footage from the Independence Bowl, and then formulate your opinion on Coples' effort in this "smaller" second-tier bowl game.
Quinton Coples vs Missouri (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
This last film is a year old, but I included it because it displays extensive footage of him playing at defensive tackle. We all know that DT is far from a glamour position, and Coples has previously been criticized for a lack of desire to play the position in college. Take a look at the performances from these two games, and then judge his effort level for yourself.
Quinton Coples at Defensive Tackle (via MetaDraft)
I am not making an argument that footage of Quinton Coples showing a questionable motor does not exist. He should be questioned on it before any team invests a draft pick into him, and I believe the Panthers are performing their due diligence in investigating his play. As fans, I believe we do ourselves a disservice when we limit our opinion on a prospect to one phrase. It could prevent the open mindset required to delve deeper into that said prospect. I do not limit this situation to Coples only, but I believe quite a few prospects are being over-pigeonholed by certain buzzwords. Those prospects will be saved for another time. However, just by viewing the small sampling of the above, the conclusion can be made that "questionable motor issues" are not the sole fullness of the evaluation of Quinton Coples as a NFL defensive end prospect.