Fletcher Cox, the former Mississippi State defensive tackle, has been taken by Philadelphia with the No. 12 overall pick of the NFL Draft tonight in New York. The Eagles, originally slotted to pick 15th, traded up three spots with Seattle to grab Cox, who many thought could be a top-10 pick.
"At the end of day, Philadelphia had shown the best interest in him," MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said. "I know he's excited about that. I kind of believe that's where he wanted to go when it was all said and done."
He's the highest Bulldog draftee since running back Michael Haddix went eighth overall to Philadelphia in 1983. Cox is the 10th first-round pick in MSU history, and it's the second consecutive year a State player has gone in the first round. Offensive tackle Derek Sherrod went 32nd overall to Green Bay in the 2011 draft.
Cox (6-foot-4, 298 pounds) recorded 56 tackles, 14.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.0 sacks his junior season, as MSU went 7-6 and won the Music City Bowl. He was named first-team All-SEC. Cox also has a proclivity for blocking kicks, having done so five times during his college career.
"Fletcher has always been a guy who played hard, he's always been a guy who's very instinctive," Wilson said. "But the biggest thing you notice is how he prepares week in and week out."
After the bowl game, Cox sat down, considered the NFL's feedback – it was reportedly an early second round grade – and decided to forego his senior year. His stock continually rose after the NFL Combine and other workouts. He was the second defensive tackle taken in this year's draft; Memphis' Dontari Poe was taken 11th by the Kansas City Chiefs, which was a surprise to lots of people.
It was thought that Cox could go to Carolina at No. 9, but the Panthers took Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. Three former Bulldogs have been drafted in the top 10.
MSU coach Dan Mullen accompanied Cox to New York. In a school release, he said, "I am so proud of Fletcher for the tremendous honor of being a first-round draft pick tonight. He has worked for everything he has earned and is the epitome of what being a Bulldog is all about."
Cox will join former MSU teammate Jamar Chaney, a linebacker who was drafted by Philly in the seventh round two years ago. Chaney, who has worked his way into a starting role, was understandably excited by the Eagles' pick (CLICK HERE).