04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Eagles' picks: Round 1/12 - Fletcher Cox, DT, 6-4, 294, Mississippi State...Cox, the top-rated defensive tackle in the draft, was one of the players the Eagles had targeted heading into the draft. But they didn't think he would slide far enough for them to get him. - The Sports Xchange
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.