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2016 Rams Roster Preview: DE Quinton Coples Fills Vacated Role

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Quinton Coples has to fill the shoes of a longtime Rams veteran in Chris Long. Can he do it?

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

After the Rams let an aging DE Chris Long walk in mid-February, they needed to pad the loss by adding a different veteran defensive end. Former New York Jets first-round pick Quinton Coples was that guy.

Coples signed a fairly cheap two-year deal with the Rams this offseason. He never lived up to his draft slot while in New York, but he proved that he could be a serviceable rotational defensive end with spurts of great pass rushing. He is an adequate athlete who can be impressive when he turns on his motor. He lacks the veteran savvy that Long had, but the explosive plays Coples has the potential to make should make him a fine replacement.

Roster Battle

Fellow DEs Robert Quinn, William Hayes and Eugene Sims are all core pieces to the defensive end rotation in Los Angeles. None of them are going anywhere this offseason. Either one or two spots are left at defensive end, depending on how the Rams are feeling on a given week.

Matt Longacre was quietly a solid defensive end on the back end of the Rams rotation last season. It would make a lot of sense for him to earn a roster spot again. Morgan Fox, on the other hand, is an undrafted rookie who can be trimmed off the team without any penalty. Aside from Coples, those are the only two fighting for the final one or two spots at defensive end.

Expectations

Coples doesn’t have to be spectacular to earn a roster spot. They already paid him and he’ll be on the back end of the rotation, meaning simple assignment execution and the occasional splash play will make him a fine player in his role. Considering he is 6’5" and 291 pounds, it is more than likely that he gets kicked inside on passing downs to provide explosion on the interior and get speed out on the edge.

Chances of Making Final Roster (8.5/10)

Between his versatility and explosive potential, Coples is a safe bet to make the 53-man roster. He isn’t going to be outplayed by Fox, and Longacre would be best as a fifth defensive end instead of the fourth over Coples.

Assuming he stays healthy, Coples will have his hand in the dirt for the Rams come regular season.