Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox: A perfect fit for the Patriots?
|02.25.12 at 1:46 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Full disclosure: Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is making a serious push to be this year’s WEEI.com draft binky.
Joining the likes of Connor Barwin, Rob Gronkowski and Ricky Sapp of years past, Cox appears to be both a fit for the Patriots where they are picking, as well as a potential star.
A versatile prospect, Cox can play multiple positions on the line, which is just what the Pats like. He played the three-technique as a d-tackle in the 4-3 in college, but he shows promise as a five-technique (3-4 defensive end) at the next level. The Patriots like to use both, so Cox can stay on the field the whole time, regardless of which defense the Pats are running. He’s also relentless, with a motor that never seems to burn out.
“It’s just there,” Cox, who had five sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss as a junior last season, said Saturday. “I just love playing the game. Getting to enjoy what you love to do every day, going out to practice and having fun.”
Cox also has a connection to one current Patriot, and it shows the Pats have a history with Mississippi State D-linemen. Defensive tackle Kyle Love, who went undrafted in 2010 but was signed by the Pats, was a senior when Cox was a freshman. The two have stayed in touch since their playing days.
“Actually, I just got done texting Kyle,” Cox said. “We were just talking about it. He asked me when my workout was and I told him Monday, so he said he would be watching and wished me good luck.”
Added Cox: “Playing with Kyle was fun. I was a freshman and he was a senior. He showed me a lot of stuff. He showed me the ropes and told me once he left, that I was the next thing coming through and to keep working hard and never give up.”
Cox measured in at 6-foot-4 and 298 pounds. He has the size, skill set (he’s a good pass-rusher but admitted he’d like to improve in the area) and the athleticism (he ran in the 4 x 100 relay in high school) to make him a solid option for the Patriots when they pick at No. 27 or 31. He received an early second-round grade at the end of his season when he submitted his name to the NFL draft advisory committee, but he figures to go higher.
If he were to go to the Patriots, he would be reunited with Love. From what he’s heard, it’s a defense he wouldn’t mind joining.
“I think they do a real good job,” Cox said of the Pats. “I’ve talked to Kyle and he said they do more of a read technique, but they do have ‘rabbits’ [pass-rushers] on third down, where they put the pass-rusher in the game and get after the quarterback.”