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Eagles Profile – Fletcher Cox – 1st Round Draft Pick

In Philadelphia Eagles on April 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

The 1st Round of the NFL draft is complete and the Philadelphia Eagles have their guy, Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle, Mississippi State, trading up from the #15 spot to the #12 spot, in a trade with Seattle, in order to select him. Cox was considered the top ranked defensive tackle in the draft and the Eagles were happy to get the 6’4”, 296lb, 21 year old.

Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn said, “I’ve coached Fletcher Cox a million times. I have coached Southern black kids my whole life, that’s what I do. We hit it off really well. We went out to lunch at the Veranda Restaurant in Starkville. We ate well, and we talked about deer hunting and guns for two hours and might have talked football for 15 minutes. He’s a shy, country kid.” Head Coach Andy Reid added, “We had targeted him all along but we thought he’d go in the first six or seven picks. Once he started to drop we got excited and went up to get him. We love his speed and athleticism — you just don’t see a big guy move like he does — and we like his flexibility, he can play on the outside as well. He’s like Cullen Jenkins in that way. He’s young and he’s a very intelligent kid. He’s built for our style of defense.” The Eagles expect Cox to step in and play in their defensive line rotation immediately, though Washburn was quick to point out, “Fletcher is a better prospect than a player at this point.”

How did Cox feel about joining the Eagles? “I was, like, excited to become an Eagle, like, really excited. I am excited to get back to football. I love the defensive scheme the Eagles play and it will be a pleasure to play on a front line under Coach Washburn.” “We went to lunch, he worked me out and we had a good time,” “He said I was a fast learner and he liked the way I learned things really quick and he wanted to coach me at the next level. I prayed and asked God where he wanted me to be and I knew it’d be great to play for the Eagles.” Reid added, “Fletcher is a better prospect than a player at this point.”

When asked, “Why should Philadelphia be excited about me?”  Cox said, “I’m a guy with great heart, hard-working, I never stop. I play 100 miles an hour. I am ready to compete. I want to get in and learn the defense.” Washburn added, “He’s such a good athlete, he was a unanimous pick upstairs in the room. He’s the biggest 296-pound athlete I’ve ever seen. He’s going to jump in right away and start playing. No one at Mississippi State — no one – had a bad word to say about him.”

If first impressions mean anything we like everything we’ve seen and heard about Fletcher Cox!!!

 Following is Rob Rang’s overview and analysis of Cox for CBSSport.com.

Overview:

Cox is naturally big, plays bigger and is expected grow even more in size and ability. A third-year junior, Cox was the only player from Mississippi State to be named to All-SEC first team after he collected 56 tackles and five sacks last season. He works hard from kickoff until the final whistle, setting a pace for teammates and wearing down opponents. He showed very good explosion in Combine testing. The light-footed Cox played both defense end and defensive tackle and his versatility will be an asset in the NFL, where scouts think he is similar to San Diego’s Corey Luiget, an 18th overall pick out of Illinois last year. Cox was one of five Bulldogs suspended for the 2011season opener against Memphis for breaking team rules, but he returned to the field with a vengeance and earned praise from his coaches.

Analysis:

Pass rush: Good quickness off the snap. Attacks gaps, getting skinny to slip past interior linemen when lining up as a defensive tackle. Enough speed to challenge the shoulders of strong-side tackles when lining up as a defensive end. Does not possess the explosiveness and flexibility to turn the corner efficiently, however, limiting his pass rush potential on the outside. Developing pass rush technique, including a swim move, but does not use this often enough. Relies almost exclusively on his bull rush. Generates an explosive pop to knock his opponent back onto his heels. Possesses the lateral agility to take advantage of the unbalanced offensive lineman to run around him and collapse the pocket. Run defense: Good size and power,

Though Cox struggles with leverage, at times. Can be blown off the ball when double-teamed as he currently lacks prototypical width and thickness in his lower body for an interior defender. Cox does appear to have the frame to add an additional 10-15 pounds. Good upper-body strength and quick hands to disengage from the one-on-one block. Penetrates gaps and locates the football quickly. Slides off of blocks to latch onto ball carriers as they attempt to run by. Alert defender who recognizes the trap block and possesses enough quickness to beat his opponent to the spot. Lacks the sustained speed to chase down ball carriers, but puts good effort into his lateral pursuit. Explosion: Varies his burst off the snap, but does not possess true explosiveness in his get-off. Among his best assets, however, is his strong upper body. Attacks blockers with an explosive pop, which allows him to disengage quickly. Strength: Naturally strong man who is still learning to use his power to his advantage. Good to very good upper-body strength and leg drive to push his opponent deep into the pocket. Good strength as a drag-down tackler, as well. Does negate his own strength, on occasion, due to a high pad level. Tackling: High effort player who locates the football and pursues laterally and downfield. An effective drag-down tackler due to his upper-body strength. Surprisingly light on his feet showing an ability to adjust to elusive ball carriers in close quarters. Closes quickly and wraps up well, but isn’t an explosive hitter likely to knock the ball free. Has forced just two fumbles in three seasons of action. Intangibles: Naturally large man with plenty of room for additional growth. Appears to be just scratching the surface of his physical potential, though he has three years of starting experience in the SEC. Blocked four kicks from 2009-11. Was suspended for the 2011 season-opener (Memphis), along with four other Bulldogs, for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

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  1. Kind of funny that the media goes to Jim Washburn for quotes on a prospect that plays defense. Isn’t Juan Castillo the Defensive Coordinator? Where are his comments? If the Eagles drafted a running back would I hear from the running backs coach or would I hear from Marty Mohrninweig?

    • Kevin, don’t be hatin on Juan already. They’re loading the wagons and going to be really good!!!

      • I agree that they will be much better next year and should be a contender for a division title and/or playoff spot. Castillo took a lot of grief last year as the losses mounted, but he was a very small reason why they lost and I was poking fun at him. The Eagles lost close games last year because the players made big mistakes with the game on the line on both sides of the ball. Correct that and this is probably an 11 or 12 win team this season.

      • Amen!!! Couldn’t agree more Kevin. It still infuriates me that Nomni lined up off sides on a big 3rd and long against the 49ers that gave them another chance. They made it and we lost on that drive. How does supposedly the best CB in the league line up off sides?? That’s on the player!! That’s just one of several. The DT jumping offsides, 2 missed chip shots in one game and of course Jackson.

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