Eagles rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) is getting time with the first team defensive line in the team’s OTA’s this week and figures to contribute immmediately.
It’s no secret that the strength of the Eagles defense a year ago was it’s defensive line.
Amid a unit that struggled in transition as a whole, with a new defensive coordinator, revamped secondary and a linebacking corps that seemed to be in a constant state of flux, the defensive line applied heavy pressure on the quarterback all season long.
Even at a position of strength, a team cannot have too much depth along the defensive line, see the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. With that in mind, the Eagles moved up to select tackle Fletcher Cox with the 12th overall pick in the first round. Many analysts applauded the pick as one of the best choices in the first round and a fantastic fit for an Eagles defense that allowed nearly 112 yards on the ground per game a year ago.
Enter Cox, who is taking first team reps alongside Cullen Jenkins at defensive tackle.
“I’m catching on quick,” the 295 pound Cox said. “It feels great learning the new plays every day and being alongside the older guys like Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins it really shows their speed and they bring a lot of excitement to practice.”
With Mike Patterson sidelined after off-season brain surgery, the door is open for Cox to grab a stranglehold on the starting job. The rookie out of Mississippi State is already drawing high praise from veteran Jenkins.
“I’ve watched Fletcher, and he’s got a lot of ability,” Jenkins said of his first impression of the Eagles first round pick. ”He’s a good kid, listens to the coaches well and I had a chance to talk to him about footwork, but Fletcher’s already really quick. Once he learns how to anticipate the offensive lineman’s movement at this level, he’s going to be a really good player.”
Whether or not Cox emerges as the starter when the regular season begins remains to be seen. However, what is known is that Cox is a pedigree type two way defensive tackle who is equally adept at getting to the quarterback and stopping the run.
“In this system you’ll be getting at the quarterback,” Cox said. But I’ll also be filling gaps against the run as well.”
Defensive line coach jim Washburn loves rotating his lineman so expect to see plenty of Jenkins, Cox, Patterson and rookie Vinny Curry throughout the season. As for Cox, Washburn is a true believer.
“He’s Sudden, fast, and can twitch up dudes,” Washburn said of his newest addition.
The Eagles had a position of need in the draft, and they filled it with Cox who appears ready to step in and have an impact almost immediately.
From the notebook:
- WR Jeremy Maclin tweaked his ankle Thursday but later returned to practice and said afterwards he didn’t think i was a big deal.
- Trent Edwards continues to struggle. In one on one passing drills he underthrew receivers several times, sometimes by more than three yards, had
less then a handful of passes in 7 on 7′s and 11 on 11 team drills.
-Rookie WR Marvin McNutt continues to impress. The kid just catches everything thrown his way. While he isn’t the quickest coming out of the block, he makes up for it with crisp route running and great hands. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see him on the field in 4 WR sets or in the redzone, where he will thrive.
-DeSean Jackson caught a case of the drops Thursday. Many of his drops came in traffic and appeared more and more frustrated as the session wore on.
Matt Lombardo is the Lead Writer for Taking It To The House. Matt is also a Producer for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Follow Matt on Twitter @MattLombardo975 or Email him atMDLombardo@yahoo.com