Updated, 8:42 p.m. ET
North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, the Jets' first-round pick, 16th overall in last month's draft, has placed his "Q" on the dotted line. The Jets announced early this evening that they have signed Coples. No terms of the signing were announced.
Coples looked impressive in his limited no-pads work at the May 4-6 rookie minicamp, and he'll be back to show some more stuff once Organized Team Activities begin next week and at the full-squad minicamp in mid-June.
Head coach Rex Ryan was so struck at the minicamp by his up-close-and-personal view of the player the Jets targeted in the middle of Round 1 that he pulled Coples off the practice field for the second full day of camp. Part of the reason was because Coples had "about a half dozen sacks" in day one, again with all players in helmets and shorts, so why risk an injury in a freak tangle of bodies, and in part because Ryan and his staff, knowing what they saw in their top pick, gave more reps to the "tangle of bodies" also trying to make the roster and make it to training camp in Cortland, N.Y., at the end of July.
"Obviously, we think this young man, he's going to start," Ryan said then. "Is he going to play every snap? No, I doubt it, but he's going to play a bunch. He could start on the sub team, start on this, start on that. Sometimes you come out and the personnel dictates who you'll play.
"But this guy has the athleticism. He's going to start in multiple schemes. I know one thing. He's going to play a ton."
The rookie signing landscape has changed this year following last year's agreement between owners and players on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But that still doesn't diminish the reality that the Jets signed their top pick earlier than they have in perhaps 20 years.
The last time they signed a first-round selection in May, it was TE Anthony Becht on May 26, 2000, but Becht was the fourth of that year's "Four Aces," their four first-round picks, and Becht was the 27th pick of the draft that year.
The earliest a top pick has signed in the new millennium is Mark Sanchez, whose signing was announced June 10, 2009. Bryan Thomas signed his rookie deal on June 18, 2002. All other first-rounders and top picks since 2000 didn't sign until late July or even early August.