Eagles Trade Up, Draft Fletcher Cox
The Eagles selected Fletcher Cox, a defensive tackle from Mississippi State with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, after moving up in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Cox racked up 114 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks in three seasons in college.
The Eagles gave up their first round pick (15th), fourth round pick (114th overall) and a sixth round pick (172nd overall) to swap first rounders with the Seahawks.
“He’s able to anchor, he’s got great hips, good strength, good upper body strength and lower body strength, but I’ll tell you he’s one of those rare kids that’s that size that can run as fast as he can run,” said Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
Last year, Cox amassed five sacks, 14.5 tackles for a loss and 56 total tackles. The junior also forced a fumble and recovered one. Cox is 6-4 and 298 pounds and ran a 4.79 40-yard dash at the combine.
This marks the fifth time in the last six years that the Eagles have moved up or down with their first round pick. It’s the fifth time in the last eight years that Philadelphia has taken a defensive lineman with its first overall pick.
“I think you win games up front, if you can perform up front, whether it’s offensive line or defensive line, you make everybody better,” Reid said. ”That’s just how it works. In this case, with the defensive line, it puts a tremendous urgency on the quarterback that they’ve got to make these decisions that hopefully aren’t the right ones.”
Most recently, the Eagles traded up to take Brandon Graham in the first round of the 2010 draft. The Eagles also moved up in 2009 for Jeremy Maclin. In 2007 and 2008, the Eagles traded down and out of the first round before selecting Kevin Kolb and Trevor Laws with their top picks.
Reid said the Eagles were excited when they saw Cox falling out of the top 10 and started making calls. Cox is rated by many as the best pass rushing defensive tackle in this year’s draft, but is also highly rated against the run. The Birds were also intrigued by Cox’s versatility.
“I think that’s a positive, we’re not a 3-4 team, but if you decide to go to a three man front in a nickel situation, he can do that,” Reid said. “He can jump outside and still give you a legitimate pass rush and he’s big enough to anchor down.”
Reid also said that Cox can be used inside in both a 1-technique, shaded inside the offensive guard, or in a 3-technique, shaded outside the guard.
With Cullen Jenkins now 31 years old and Mike Patterson coming off of brain surgery during the offseason, defensive tackle was a position where it made sense for the Eagles to add depth and begin planning for the future.
Ryan Messick covers the Eagles for 97.3 ESPN FM. Follow him on Twitter.