Philadelphia Eagles: How Fletcher Cox Will Improve the Eagles in the Future

Nick ZaffiriContributor IMay 3, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Fletcher Cox of Mississippi State holds up a jersey as poses for a photo on stage with family after he was selected #12 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

With the ninth pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers selected Luke Kuechly.

Personally, I was disappointed, and I was still scared of what Andy Reid might do.

As it turned out, three picks later, the Eagles traded up with the Seattle Seahawks

Then, with the No. 12 pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. While excited, I was still disappointed that the team missed out on a prominent linebacker.

Instead, the Eagles got an extremely solid defensive tackle that could step up in the long-term. To get that No. 12 pick, the Eagles dealt the No. 15, No. 114 and No. 172 picks to the Seahawks.

It showed just how important Fletcher Cox was to this team.

After thinking about it and talking it over with others, it seems to me that this was the best possible pick for the Eagles. Luckily for them, Cox was not chosen earlier in the draft.

Therefore, when Andy Reid saw the opportunity to get the man he wanted, he jumped on the chance and dealt with the Seahawks for the No. 12 pick.

Cox had an amazing college career. He recorded 114 tackles in 36 games (27 starts) at Mississippi State. He had 24.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also blocked a stunning five kicks. His honors included first team All-SEC as a freshman in 2009 and first team All-SEC as a junior in 2011.

A delighted Andy Reid had the following to say about his first-round draft pick (via

We think that Fletcher Cox is a tremendous player. He has the speed and athletic ability where he could play outside if needed. He gives us a little flexibility. He’s a very intelligent kid, and he’s young. He has the whole package.

Meanwhile, defensive line coach Jim Washburn added:

He’s just such a good athlete. I told Andy when I came back from working him out in Starkville, he’s the biggest 296-pounder I’ve ever seen. He’s quick and he’s just really athletic. His feet and hands work so well together. He’s just a really good football player.

With his athletic ability, Cox will line up alongside Trent Cole and Jason Babin in the middle of the Eagles' defensive line. He should adjust and fit into the team's 4-3 defense, just like at Mississippi State. Fletcher is speedy, agile, hard-hitting, intelligent and so much more.

Cox truly brings the whole package. He is the blue-collar defensive lineman that the Eagles needed. With Cullen Jenkins becoming a free agent in 2016 and Mike Patterson becoming a free agent a year later, Fletcher Cox could very well be starting in the near future.

With Andy Reid picking up another stud for the defensive line, I foresee great things in the future of Fletcher Cox and the Philadelphia Eagles. I give this pick an A grade.