On a day that feels like Christmas to many fans and a few lucky players, millions will gather around to watch the first round of the NFL draft tonight. I have always been surprised by people that do not care for the draft because it has a bit of something for everyone. Heartache-Who can forget Aaron Rodgers being stuck in the Green Room until Green Bay rescued him? Surprise-We all remember Mel Kiper's head almost exploding when the Raiders selected Darrius Heyward-Bey in the first round. Joy-The look on almost every player when they realize their dream has come true.
What Bulldog fans wonder today is which of these will describe Fletcher Cox's experience later today.
Cox has had an interesting road on the way to the draft. The 6-4, 298 pound defensive tackle left Mississippi State after his junior year, even after the NFL Draft Advisory Board gave him a second round draft grade. In fact, most experts pegged him as a late first rounder to middle second round draft pick. However that changed dramatically following an amazing combine performance and individual workouts.
Cox now sits in the top fifteen of most mock drafts, but there is still a bit of question as to when and where he will go. Here is a look at some of the more thought of destinations.
No. 6 to the St. Louis Rams: The Rams have quite a few needs coming into the season. The team does not have a surefire receiver, and the offense needs to show improvement before the fans start to question Sam Bradford. With that said, the Rams may not be in much of a position to draft the receiver they are looking for in this position, so the team may look to help the defense. Many also point to the fact that Jeff Fisher is a defensive minded coach, and he would not mind having a new toy on that side of the ball.
This looks like the earliest Cox will be drafted because many of the teams ahead of St. Louis already know what they want and need.
No. 7 to Philadelphia in a trade with Jacksonville: This concept intrigues me a bit because I don't think Philadelphia wants to be in this position. If the Eagles jump the Dolphins there may be a great deal of pressure to come away with a quarterback. The Eagles do not have a great quarterback situation with Vick's injury history and age, and with Vince Young being Vince Young. I think Cox would be a wonderful addition to the Eagles, but it will not happen if they jump this far up in the draft.
No. 9 to Carolina: The Panthers look to be building a team for the future, and last year, they started the process by selecting Cam Newton with the first pick in the draft. That paid off well for the Panthers, and now they may turn their focus to the defensive side of the ball. Carolina has needed help on defense since losing Julius Peppers and Cox may be the man to stand in the gap.
No matter how it shakes out, it is hard to envision Cox slipping out of the first half of the first round of the draft. He may be picked a few slots later than Bulldog fans are hoping, but he will be gone fairly early in the night.