Eagles stay patient, get their man
April, 26, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
NEW YORK -- We began the day thinking the Philadelphia Eagles would have to trade up very high in the first round, perhaps into the top six or seven, if they wanted to draft Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. But the Eagles stayed patient amid a flurry of top-seven trades, and when Cox lasted until the 12th pick, they made their move. The Eagles traded the 15th overall pick, a fourth-round pick (No. 114 overall) and a sixth-round pick (No. 172) to the Seattle Seahawks for the No. 12 pick, with which they drafted Cox.
He's exactly the right pick for the Eagles. They needed to beef up their run defense with a big, mean defensive tackle, and Cox certainly does that. But the Eagles' defense is also based on the ability to rush the passer with their front four, and Cox is an excellent pass-rusher from the interior of the defensive line. He was higher on many draft boards than Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who went one pick earlier to Kansas City, and he's a better fit for what the Eagles do on defense than Poe would have been. Here's the Scouts, Inc. scouting report:
Scouts Inc. pros: Fires out of stance and is strong enough to hold ground in most one-on-one situations when he keeps pad level. Has a powerful upper body and quick, strong hands. Is quick enough to shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. Relentless might be an overstatement, but overall motor is very good. Doesn't give up when he fails to win with first move.
Scouts Inc. cons: Needs to play with more consistent leverage versus the run. He's not big enough to anchor against double-teams when he doesn't stay low. Gets washed down the line of scrimmage by angle blocks a little too much. Just average lateral mobility and isn't going to get many offensive linemen off balance with side-to-side moves
The Eagles came into the draft with 10 picks, so they could spare the late-round picks they gave up to move up three spots. They still have two second-round picks and a third-rounder tomorrow night to continue building depth in the secondary, the linebacking corps or on the offensive line. But this was the guy they needed to get in the first round, and they got him at a somewhat minimal cost.