Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Draft preview series: Mississippi State DL Fletcher Cox
By Bryan Broaddus and Tim MacMahon
The 13th installment of our draft preview series focuses on Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox.
Scouts Inc. ranks: No. 3 defensive tackle, No. 19 overall
Bio: First-team All-SEC as a junior in 2011, when he had 56 tackles, including 14.5 for losses and five sacks. Had 58 total tackles in his first two seasons, including 10 for losses and 3.5 sacks. Blocked five kicks during his career at Mississippi State. Was suspended for the 2011 season opener along with four teammates for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Mississippi State DL Fletcher Cox has displayed power against both the run and the pass.
Broaddus Breakdown (viewed LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky games): Normally lined up at defensive end but has also played inside as a tackle. ... Initially didn't think he had the quickness to get the edge as a rusher, but he did a much better job of this against Alabama and Kentucky. ... Has a tendency to play tall out of the stance but makes up for it by playing with power and his effort. Was impressed with the way he never stopped working to try and get to the ball. ... Not a one-trick pony, but like some of the ends in the draft he is going to need to develop pass rush moves. His best move was the spin where he was able to get the tackle's weight on the outside foot then come back inside to free himself. Was able to work this move against LSU and Kentucky with some success. ... Did a nice job when he was used in games with twist stunts. Had some sharpness to his rush. Has a feel for how to rush tight to the stunt. Used a rip move against Kentucky that had some nice power behind it. ... There is power in his game -- both run and pass -- but got knocked around in the Georgia game more than the others, which surprised me a bit. Worked around blockers better against Alabama along with Kentucky, and this was probably his best games for this. ... Uses his hands and upper-body strength to control blockers. Really can hold the point of attack. ... Against Alabama and Kentucky he was able to split the double-team blocks and get in on the plays. Fights to keep from getting hooked on the edge, doesn't allow the blocker to get to his outside shoulder. ... Works down the line to find the ball. ... Only saw one time where he didn't show good awareness, when he got fooled on a waggle and the ball got outside. Good awareness for the screen. ... Productive player when on the move inside shooting the gap. Scheme will sometimes take him out of the play when on the move. Can get walled or washed down away from the play when on the move. ... Will get up off the ground quickly when he gets cut. ... Usually have had problems in my scouting career with defensive linemen from Mississippi State, but Fletcher Cox is a really productive player and deserves to be mentioned when the Cowboys select in the first round of this draft. His ability and traits are those of what you would like to have as a base end in a 3-4, plus he can give you quality plays inside in the nickel as a defensive tackle. If given a choice between LSU's Michael Brockers and Cox, I have a feeling that they would lean toward Brockers. But if Brockers is gone, this player would be a nice piece to put at end and go to work.