Draft Scout Snapshot: The Eagles continued their offseason focus on defense in the draft, using their first three picks and four of their first five on defensive players. Their first-round pick, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and their second-round pick, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, both are expected to be Day 1 contributors. Cox is a freakishly athletic 294-pounder with 4.7 speed who can play inside and outside. He should flourish as a pass-rusher in defensive line coach Jim Washburn's wide-9. Kendricks, who ran a 4.47 forty at the combine, likely will be the team's season-opening SAM linebacker. The Eagles are bullish on his ability to cover tight ends. BEST PICK: Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: The Eagles led the league in sacks last season with 50. They figure to be an even bigger pass-rushing force this season with a difference-maker like Cox inside. - The Sports Xchange
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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 2011 season opener against Memphis for breaking team rules, but he returned to the field with a vengeance and earned praise from his coaches.
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 ballcarriers 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 ballcarriers, 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 ballcarriers 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.
Cox finishes his career with 114 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He played in 36 games, starting 27. He also blocked five kicks during his career at Mississippi State, including a field goal in the Bulldogs' 23-17 victory over Wake Forest in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Cox finished the 2011 season with 56 total tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week four times on the season, and was a named first-team all-SEC by the Associated Press.
Started 11 games and played in 12 during his sophomore campaign . . . Posted 29 tackles on the season, with 6.5 coming behind the line of scrimmage . . . Also credited with 2.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries . . . Blocked a pair of kicks, bringing his career total to three.
Played in all 12 games during his true freshman season . . . Earned Freshman All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league's coaches . . . Started four times on the year . . . Posted 29 total tackles with 3.5 coming behind the line of scrimmage . . . Began career with two tackle for loss game against Jackson State . . . Also posted first career sack against the Tigers . . . Recorded career-high five tackles in Week 2 against Auburn . . . Earned first start against Middle Tennessee . . . Credited with four tackles with 1.5 for loss against the Blue Raiders . . . Also posted four stops against Florida and Arkansas.
2011: Suspended for the season-opener (Memphis), along with four other Bulldogs, for an undisclosed violation of team rules
Rated the No. 5 weak side defensive end in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site credits him with the second-fastest first step among all defensive ends and a 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash . . . Rivals moved him among its top 100 players overall in the country in its final post-season ranking . . . He is also considered the No. 2 prospect in the state of Mississippi by Rivals, the top defensive player on the chart . . . Considered the No. 17 defensive end prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Listed No. 31 on Super Prep Magazine's ranking of the top defensive linemen in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Named first-team, all-state on the defensive line by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper for all classifications . . . Ranked No. 4 on the Clarion-Ledger's list of the 10 most wanted high school prospects in the state of Mississippi, the top defensive lineman on the list . . . Also selected to that newspaper's Dandy Dozen list, symbolic of being one of the top 12 high school players in Mississippi . . . Made 104 total tackles during his senior season, including 10 quarterback sacks . . . Also had one pass interception and a fumble recovery . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game following his senior season for head coach Tony Woolfolk at Yazoo City (Miss.) High School . . . Selected to the G&W Recruiting Report's Pre-season Top 250 prospects nationally, one of the top 56 offensive and defensive linemen on the list . . . During his junior campaign, he had 103 total tackles, including 11 quarterback sacks and two pass interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown . . . Other top scholarship offers: LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Colorado . . . Committed to MSU in April 2008.
Born Fletcher Cox, 12-13-90 . . . Son of Mrs. Melissa Cox Bright.
Draft Scout Player News
01/11/13 - DT Fletcher Cox is an athletic tackle with rare strength and quickness, but the Eagles need a consistent run-stopper inside.
12/28/12 - DT Fletcher Cox, who is recovering from a concussion he suffered in the Washington game, didn't practice Thursday and isn't expected to play against the Giants.
12/27/12 - DT Fletcher Cox did not practice Wednesday. He is recovering from a concussion and probably won't play Sunday against the Giants.
12/24/12 - DT Fletcher Cox left the game in the first half with a concussion. His status for the final game against the Giants is uncertain.
12/24/12 - DT Fletcher Cox suffered a concussion in Sunday's game against the Redskins. It's unlikely the 2012 first-round pick will play this week against the Giants.