With the NFL draft fastly approaching, we wanted to bring you as much outside insight and analysis of the MSU players that will most likely hear their names called on one of the draft days. By this time most State fans know that the first Bulldog that will be taken in this year's draft will most likely be former DL Fletcher Cox. As we told you last week, Fletcher had a good combine workout, but what does that mean to his draft status? That question, and several others, we directed earlier this week to the SBNation NFL Draft experts, Mocking the Draft.
The guys at Mocking the Draft were kind enough to answer our questions and give you some better insight on Fletcher's chances come draft day.
Q1: Would you say that Fletcher Cox's combine workouts helped him greatly in his draft status or was that mostly information that was already known about him?
They certainly didn't hurt him, but most NFL teams probably already had a good knowledge of his general athletic ability. While it took media doofuses (like me) aback that he was on the 4x100 relay team at 240 pounds in high school, NFL teams know this stuff already. If nothing else, Cox' workout numbers probably only affirmed his draft placement for NFL teams.
Q2: What is one strength that stands out in Fletcher's game that makes NFL Scouts love him?
His versatility. Everyone has seen how the New York Giants likes to shift their defensive linemen all around to create mismatches. Cox has the versatility to do the same. He's long and quick enough to hold up on end in a 3-4 (and certain 4-3 looks), but is strong enough to play three technique.
Q3: What is one weakness that Fletcher will have to work on in order to succeed at the next level?
What he needs to work on will depend on who drafts him. If base 4-3 team picks Cox, he'll probably need to add power to his core. That will make him stouter against the run and hold up multiple blockers. If he plays five technique, coaches will probably want Cox to fire off the snap a little faster and develop a better secondary move to beat the initial blocker.
Q4: In your study of the mock drafts out there including your site's mock, what are the highest and lowest picks and teams that Fletcher may go to?
The ceiling for Cox is probably the Seattle Seahawks, who have the 12th pick. They run an extremely unique defensive line and are looking for a lineman who can play all over. There's been some scuttlebutt that the Carolina Panthers at nine could be a landing spot, but I doubt Cox gets drafted before someone like Devon Still of Penn State or Michael Brockers of LSU (which I'm sure State fans will hate hearing). His floor is probably New England with the 31st pick. They so desperately need defensive linemen and Cox would fit right in with what they do.
Make sure you check out Mocking the Draft for your source on all things NFL Draft. The guys do a great job over there