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'Q the Beast' Coples eager to make Jets fans proud

Jets first-round NFL football draft pick Quinton Coples

Jets first-round NFL football draft pick Quinton Coples smiles as he answers a question during a news conference. (April 27, 2012) Credit: AP

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Quinton Coples has yet to crack open his playbook, but the newest first-round Jet is convinced that Rex Ryan's defense will be ranked No. 1 by season's end.

Coples emulated his bombastic head coach during his introductory news conference Friday morning, issuing a playful yet direct warning to offenses around the league.

"I think they should be worried about me and Muhammad and Big Bo in the middle, and everybody else that's behind us," the 6-6 defensive end said, referring to former high school teammate Muhammad Wilkerson and nose tackle Sione Pouha.

The Jets selected the North Carolina pass rusher 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night, adding much-needed size, strength and speed to their lackluster pass rush.

Holding a dark green Jets jersey, Coples flashed a smile for the cameras as he was introduced to the New York media for the first time at the team's facility.

His disappointing senior season at UNC (71/2 sacks as a defensive end after 10 his junior year as a defensive tackle) has been well-documented, and as a result, many draft experts question Coples' competitive fire. But his mother, Gail, said people who think her son isn't passionate about football "don't know Quinton."

He was nicknamed "Q the Beast" growing up. Basketball was always Coples' passion, his mother said, but football was his "throb."

The first-round pick also was accompanied Friday by his older sister Aurriell, agents Thomas Sims and Chad Speck and his business manager. Coples said he was a "nervous wreck" the night of the draft but nevertheless was confident that the Jets would take him if he fell to 16.

Now he says he's looking forward to "experiencing the dream here with the New York Jets."

Coples sent Wilkerson, his teammate at Hargrave Military Academy, a text message after being selected by the Jets. Wilkerson responded, saying the Jets are "on the rise."

"He was like, 'We're one step away from winning the Super Bowl,' " Coples said. "He's definitely excited about me being an addition to the program. And he's ready to rock and roll."

Coples is well aware of the detractors, but in his mind, the Jets got everything they needed in a first-round pick. "They got a great value," he said.

The chip on his shoulder is evident in his words. Coples admitted it's been there every day of his life, serving as personal motivation to be his very best.

"There's always room to get better," he said. "There's always room to improve, and that's how I take it. That's how I live life.

"Jets fans are definitely passionate about their team and I'm willing to exceed their projections, or whatever, that they have for me. I'm willing to exceed that."

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