Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox could go as high as No. 9 overall to the Carolina Panthers in some current mock drafts Photo by: MSU athletics
April 19, 2012 6:56:04 AM
STARKVILLE - Fletcher Cox is quickly rising up the draft boards of most National Football League executives.
The defensive tackle from Mississippi State University may get picked in the first two hours of coverage the 2012 NFL Draft on the evening of April 26.
I had a update on Cox's draft status in today's edition of The Dispatch with mock drafts seeing Cox being taken anywhere from Carolina's pick at No. 9 and Philadelphia's pick at No. 15.
The 295-pound defensive lineman from Yazoo City had 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in a 2011 season that saw him and junior Josh Boyd dominate the line of scrimmage from inside the tackle box.
ESPN.com draft analyst Todd McShay said the more his looks at the MSU product, he loves what he sees and thinks that opinion reverberates throughout scouting scouts in professional football days before the beginning of the selection process.
"Fletcher Cox, the more tape I watch, the more he just grew on me, and I love his versatility,'' McShay said in a recent conference call with the national media. "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."
The three players battling to be the first defensive tackle to hear his name called by commissioner Roger Goddell in the draft are Cox, University of Memphis product Dontari Poe and LSU's Michael Brockers.
NFL.com has Cox currently projected to be taken by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 15th selection in the first round despite the franchise having two veterans at the defensive tackle position.
Cox has told The Dispatch he and around 14-15 of his closest friends and family will be in attendance at Radio City Music Hall next Thursday for the draft proceedings. Along with Cox, MSU football coach Dan Mullen will be in attendance as the defensive lineman represents the first player from Mullen's initial recruiting class in Starkville to be drafted.
"If you're a first round pick then that's life-changing money and I tell every one of them to go, if you're not then we encourage them all to come back," Mullen said after the Music City Bowl win in December.
Cox has the chance to be the highest draft pick from MSU since 1996 when cornerback Walt Harris was selected 13th overall by the Chicago Bears.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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