Fletcher Cox may not be a household name right now, but he very well could be by the time April rolls around. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
This afternoon Josh Norris of Rotoworld, and Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com got together to do a two round mock draft where they alternated selections in the first round, and did the same in the second switching teams. This was a really interesting way to see two scouts with no bias select purely for all 32 teams in a fashion that could mirror April's events.
The first round selection for the Panthers belonged to Norris, who immediately decided to upgrade the DT position by adding a pass rusher.
With the 9th pick in the #LiveMock the #Panthers select Mississippi St. DT Fletcher Cox
This is rapidly becoming the sexy pick for the Panthers in the first round. Cox was overshadowed by Dontari Poe at the combine, but put up amazing numbers (if you like that kind of thing). He ran 4.79 in the 40, and benched 30 reps all at a near ideal 298 lbs. Furthermore, unlike Dontari Poe or Michael Brockers he has the solid numbers against good competition to back this up- 56 tackles, 5.0 sacks and was 5th in the SEC among all players in tackles for a loss. When you add this to his ability to play both inside as an under-tackle, or move outside into a DE role you have a players who could be very valuable to the Carolina Panthers.
More after the jump
When the dust settles, the pro days occur and prospects reach their final evaluation there is a very good chance Cox will be regarded as the best DT in this draft. While he may not have the insane upside of Poe or Brockers, he has room to improve in the NFL and has a solid body of work.
There isn't a ton of good film on Cox, but what I did find is this scouting video of him vs. South Carolina this year. What I find remarkable is his speed out of his stance, it's staggering. He also gets tremendous push with a head of steam. You'll notice as the video progresses South Carolina started doubling him, unable to allow him to be single blocked, yet he still manages to hold the point of attack with two blockers on him. That being said, it's not all roses for Fletcher Cox, as he tends to over-pursue on running plays and at times has issues diagnosing running lanes.
He finished the game with 6 tackles and 2 sacks. I have to admit, I think he's an absolutely tremendous football player who would add immediate benefits to the Panthers defensive line.
Next it was time for Brugler to make his pick for Carolina in the second round.
With the 40th pick in the #LiveMock the #Panthers select Iowa State RT/G Kelechi Osemele
Osemele is a player I think is a real boom or bust project. I wrote a full scouting report on him for SB Nation- Atlanta which you can read here. In short- he's an absolute mountain of a man who with a little training could become an elite OL... of course he could also be a tremendous bust.
What do you think of these two selections?