Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft: Is Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox the Favorite?

Jonathan Bales@thecowboystimesAnalyst IMarch 28, 2012

STARKVILLE, MS - NOVEMBER 12:  quarterback AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide scrambles away from pressure from defensive lineman Fletcher Cox #94 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs on November 12, 2011 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. Alabama won 24-7. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

In my first mock draft of the season, I had the Cowboys selecting Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.  

The pick wasn’t necessarily one I would make (as evidenced by my 2012 Defensive Tackle Rankings), but rather one I think is likely for Dallas.  Today, I posted a scouting report on Cox at the New York Times.  Click here for the full report.

At 6-4, 295 pounds, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has the frame to play in both a 4-3 and a 3-4 scheme.  He also has the experience, and the skills, to play in both looks.  Many are saying that Cox is the prototypical 3-4 defensive end and will thrive there in the N.F.L., but it depends on which team selects him.  Cox succeeds by shooting gaps and getting into the backfield, so he needs to be placed in a defense that allows him to freelance as opposed to eating up blocks.  For 3-4 defenses, that’s called a one-gap scheme.  That’s not to say Cox couldn’t succeed in a two-gap scheme but rather that he’s best suited for the former.

Cox is stout against the run because of his strength.  He is rarely blown back when he fires off the ball, often creating plays for teammates by generating penetration.  You can see a good example of this at the 3-minute-45-second mark against Wake Forest in the first video.

Another thing Cox does well is use his strength, getting blockers to lunge toward him in an effort to stand their ground, then side-stepping them to make tackles.  You can see that at the 3:54 mark in the Wake Forest video.

I think Cox is a borderline first-round talent with great upside, but he has too raw of a skill set to warrant consideration in the top half of the first round.  

What I love about Cox is his motor and football IQ, and he certainly seems like a “Jason Garrett-type.”  For my money, though, I would much prefer a player like Jerel Worthy or Josh Chapman in the second round.

Previous Scouting Reports

Michael Brockers, DT/DE, L.S.U.

Devon Still, DT/DE, Penn State

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

David DeCastro, G, Stanford

Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida/North Alabama

Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

Morris Claiborne, CB, L.S.U.

Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois

Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

Nick Perry, DE/OLB, U.S.C.

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson


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