By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
As the NFL Draft has inched closer and closer, Fletcher Cox has gone from a borderline first-round pick to a possible top-10 selection. Today, the former Mississippi State defensive tackle will find out exactly where his pro career begins.
The Draft’s first round starts at 7 p.m., and Cox is expected to go within the first 15 picks. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper, in his final mock draft, has the 6-foot-4, 298-pound Cox going seventh overall to Philadelphia.
The Eagles actually have the 15th selection of the first round, but Kiper thinks they will trade up to nab Cox. There has also been chatter of St. Louis drafting him at sixth, while a lot of analysts believe he will go ninth to Carolina.
That’s where analyst Mike Detillier believes Cox will wind up, and he’s not surprised to see the rise in demand for an athletic, versatile defensive tackle.
“There are very few defensive tackles that can match his skill set,” Detillier said. “… It’s the maturity and everything else that goes along with it: his versatility, his smarts, his athleticism.”
Cox has the ability, Detillier said, to play the tackle position in a 4-3 defensive scheme or the end spot in a 3-4. The analyst added that Cox has moved ahead of other first-round candidates at his position, namely LSU’s Michael Brockers and Memphis’ Dontari Poe.
And Cox has an intangible Detillier really likes.
“I want a guy who’s passionate about playing, and that’s the one thing I see in Fletcher, that he’s a passionate guy about playing at the next level. Even when he gets money in his pocket, it’s not going to affect his attitude.”
And Cox will get good money. He’s represented by agent Todd France, whose client list includes Pro Bowlers Ray Rice and Takeo Spikes.
On Wednesday, Cox reportedly signed an endorsement deal with Nike.
France’s agency did not make Cox available for comment to the Journal this week.
A few other Bulldogs could get drafted this weekend. McShay has both tailback Vick Ballard and safety Charles Mitchell being selected; offensive linemen James Carmon and Quentin Saulsberry could be late-round picks or priority free agents.