Pre-Combine Buzz - Defense
By Fran Duffy
Posted 50 minutes ago
After taking a look at which offensive players to watch closely this week during the Scouting Combine, it's time to focus on the defense. Once again, we've rounded NFL Draft analysts from across the football landscape to discuss some buzzworthy prospects.
Defensive End (Chris Kouffman - Universal Draft):
The buzz on Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox has risen lately and should reach a crescendo when he begins to test at the Combine later this week. When college recruiters came to Coxís high school, they could not help but notice the 240-pound dynamic athlete who played multiple positions and hardly came off the field. At a recruiting camp, he ran a 4.47 in the 40 yard dash. Mississippi State intended to make Cox a 250-pound defensive end, but he quickly grew to over 270 and was then moved to defensive tackle. In the NFL, Cox figures to be highly coveted by the wave of teams that play a lot of odd front (3-4) defense. It isnít terribly difficult to find really stout players who are well suited for the stack and shed game you see in a two-gapping defense. However, it is very difficult to find someone who can do that, and then turn around and be dynamic as a pass rusher either from the outside or penetrating the gaps. Cox's flexibility and lateral quickness match his strength and explosion. Once he matures and becomes more consistent, he has the potential to be one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the game. He also has the flexibility to play defensive end in a 4-3, especially if you have him reduce his size. He has that kind of take-off and quickness.