- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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This is considered a deep draft class for defensive tackles.
The name that has been on the top of the list has been Memphis’ Dontari Poe. However, in recent weeks, Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox has been getting a lot of attention, and many scouts think Cox could end up being drafted before Poe. Cox has better game film, and scouts think he might be a safer pick.
This is what ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had to say about Cox on a conference call this week: “As far as the defensive tackles, it's a deep group, and there's a lot of talent here. Fletcher Cox, the more tape I watch, the more he just grew on me, and I love his versatility. I think he plays the game hard. I think he can rush the passer both from the inside and the outside, different styles, more of a three technique. On the outside he seals the edge and is stronger at the point of attack than when he plays on the inside, but I also see some ability to get off the quarterback with power moves and leverage moves as a left defensive end type or a 3-4 defensive end, as well, on occasion. I think he's the best of the group, I really do, and I think he'll continue to get better.”
It makes me wonder whether the Kansas City Chiefs could be interested in Cox at No. 11. There has been a lot of talk that Poe could be headed to the Chiefs. However, Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli is a huge believer in college production. Poe had mediocre game film, which is a red flag despite his terrific measurables and combine numbers.
The Chiefs’ biggest need is a nose tackle, and Poe is considered a better fit as a 3-4 tackle than Cox. Although he is versatile, Cox is considered a better defensive end prospect for a 3-4 team. The Chiefs used the No. 5 pick on Glenn Dorsey in 2008, and the No. 3 pick on Tyson Jackson in 2009. Both are serviceable, but neither has lived up to their draft status.
Perhaps Pioli will target Cox, and see where he best fits on the Chiefs’ defensive front. Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel is one of the best coaches in the league for getting production out of players.
Adding a quality player like Cox would only help Kansas City, regardless of where he lines up. I’m not saying the Chiefs are going to take Cox, but I think he has to be considered a possibility.