Fletcher Cox Scout

 

Defensive Tackle/3-4 Defensive End

Mississippi State

6-4 298

Draft board overall prospect rank: #13

Draft board defensive tackle rank: #1

Overall rating: 88 (Solid 1st round pick)

40 time: 4.79

Games watched: LSU/Mississippi State, Mississippi State/Wake Forest 

Positives

·         Great athlete

·         Mature pass rusher

·         Good size (6-4 298)

·         Excellent 40 time (4.79, 1.64 10 yard split)

·         Agile and quick

·         Good change of direction

·         Did very well in The Combine’s agility drills

·         Can line up inside and outside

·         Would be a natural fit as a 5-technique in a 3-4

·         Long arms (34 ½ inches)

·         Good hand use

·         Deep repertoire of pass rushing moves

·         Stout at the point of attack

·         Good strength (30 reps of 225)

·         Powerful

·         Holds up against the run

·         Could probably add 15 pounds comfortably

·         Explosive

·         Great motor

·         Great in space

·         Good technique

·         Good chase and pursuit

·         Versatile

·         Moves like a linebacker (almost run back a fumble for a touchdown this season)

·         Productive 2011 season (56 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 5 sacks)

·         Played elite competition in SEC

·         Makes impact plays

·         Impossible to ignore on tape

·         Special teams ability (4 blocked kicks)

Negatives

·         Only one year of strong production

·         No years of elite production (Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy all had more productive seasons than him)

·         Only average against the run

·         Can get overpowered by bigger interior linemen

·         Doesn’t take on a lot of double teams

·         Only 2 career forced fumbles

·         Still a bit raw

·         Suspended for Memphis game for violation of team rules

NFL Comparison: Darnell Dockett

After Dontari Poe’s amazing Combine, a lot of people called him the best defensive tackle in this draft class and mocked him 9th to Carolina, who really needs a defensive tackle. I didn’t mock him to Carolina, instead putting Fletcher Cox there after his underrated Combine. The 6-4 300 pound Cox ran in the high 4.7s and had a better 10 yard split than Poe and was much better in the agility and change of direction drills than Poe. Cox was the more productive player in a much tougher conference and he had much better change of direction and quickness, whereas Poe is more straight line fast.

The consensus has caught up to this. Cox is now seen as the top defensive tackle in this draft class and 9 to Carolina is now his floor. Tampa Bay at 5 and St. Louis at 6 could be interested and if he slips past them, Philadelphia will be working the phones to move up to 7 to grab him ahead of Carolina. He’s not quite on the level of guys like Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh, and Gerald McCoy, but he’s a good 2nd tier tackle who would be a good value from 9-15.

The first time I saw Fletcher Cox, I didn’t know a whole lot about him, but I couldn’t help but notice him on tape and he looked like a potential first round pick. I didn’t think he’d declare early, but when he did, I did some more work on him and gave him a top 20 grade, moving him up to now 13th on my board after a strong Combine. He’s still a bit raw and he only has 1 year of good production, but he’s got all the tools, a great motor, and he’s already a very mature pass rusher with a good combination of speed and power moves, as well as good technique.

I compare him to Arizona’s Darnell Dockett. Dockett went in the 3rd round in 2004 and, while Cox will definitely go much higher Dockett has well exceeded his draft range as he’s become one of the better 5-techniques in the NFL. He also has experience in a 4-3 as a defensive tackle. The 3 time Pro Bowler has 34.5 sacks in 8 seasons (9 in 2007) despite being a bit undersized (6-4 290). Cox can play either of these positions and should be an above average starter like Dockett. I expect him to have an immediate impact as a rookie.

 

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