I know what you are thinking -- why did the Rams bring him in?
When you think about it, it should not come as much of a shock. Last year, the Rams added Nick Fairley from the Detroit Lions. You could compare Fairley and Coples by saying that both players were drafted in the first round and neither of them played to their previous teams' expectations.
Coples was released by the New York Jets in November of last year, where he was picked up by the Miami Dolphins. He would finish the 2015 season with less than 50 tackles and zero sacks. In his career, it is safe to consider Coples as a bust so far; he has not exceeded 40 tackles in a season and has not achieved double digit sacks.
It has been stated that Coples was miscast as a 3-4 outside linebacker and will be more at home as a defensive end with his hand in the ground with the Rams' 4-3 defensive scheme.
The Rams are taking a bigger gamble on Coples than they did with Fairley. While Coples had the talent to be a top-10 player in the 2012 NFL Draft, there were questions about his commitment. People were concerned that he cruised during games and rumor says he said as much to his teammates:
After all the suspensions and all the problems, he shut it down," the scout said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He got up in front of the team and basically said, 'I'm not playing for the team, I'm playing for myself, I ain't getting hurt for nobody.
Yes, this was during college, but when you look at his production throughout his career, it is hard not to wonder if the disappointing production was more than just scheme.
With all of that being said, Coples could revitalize his career and potential with the Rams. William Hayes and Eugene Sims have developed into good players on the defensive line. The very same thing could happen with Coples. It might sound easy to say he just has to put his hand in the dirt and play, but he will have to learn techniques to get off blockers.
The Rams do not need Coples to become an all-star pass rusher, however he will be expected to replace Chris Long's production. Based over Long's last two seasons, that shouldn't be too hard. The plan will more than likely call for easing Coples along in the rotation. He will still see a lot of snaps since the Rams rotate their defensive line a lot during games.
Coples has the talent to be a good player and pairing him with former Tar Heel teammate Robert Quinn will not hurt his chances. Coples could end up being another valuable piece of the Rams defensive line, which has been the shining star for the Rams over the past few years.