Bears Kick Cox's Tires.......that's tires now not balls!............
Bears put DT prospect Cox through paces
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 10:37 a.m. CDT, April 26, 2012
The last time the Chicago Bears got major production from a first-round draft pick was in Lovie Smith’s first season, when they grabbed defensive tackle Tommie Harris. The Bears could be aiming for a tackle again Thursday night, but it likely would take a major trade to get him.
According to an NFL source, the club put Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox through a private workout. Whether the Bears went to that length thinking, at the time, Cox could fall to them at No. 19 is not known.
At this point, nearly all analysts are projecting Cox to be the first defensive lineman selected, perhaps as early as No. 6 overall to the St. Louis Rams. General manager Phil Emery would have to come up with a substantial package to move into the middle of the top 10 in an effort to draft Cox or another highly touted prospect.
Cox would be an ideal fit for Smith’s defense as a three technique. He has great quickness, agility and explosiveness and can rush the quarterback from the interior. The 6-4, 298-pounder entered the draft with eligibility remaining but isn’t a raw project. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.79 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine and put up 30 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. He was a member of the sprint team in high school.
Cox is considered a high-character locker room guy and has a clean injury history, having played in 36 games over the past three seasons at Mississippi State. That was one of the reasons Harris fell to the Bears in ’04 when Emery was still a scout on Jerry Angelo’s staff. Harris had knee issues and they eventually led to the end of his career with the Bears. Had he been healthy, there is no way he would have fallen in the Bears' lap.
It was an easy decision for Cox to leave school early.
“I felt like I was ready to compete at the next level,” he said. “I talked to my position coach, I asked him, ‘Do you think I’m mature enough?’ He told me he thought I was mature enough. I thought I was mature enough to compete at the next level and I was ready for it.”
Cox made 56 tackles last season for the Bulldogs and had 14 1/2 tackles for loss and five sacks.
The Bears have a lack of depth at defensive tackle after Amobi Okoye departed in free agency and nose tackle Anthony Adams was released. The hope is Henry Melton will continue to advance, but possibly trading up to grab Cox would give the Bears a player some believe is a can’t-miss prospect. With defensive end being one of the strengths of the draft, the Bears likely could get an outside pass rusher in the second round where they have the 50th overall pick.
It could be the Bears were covering all of their bases in exploring Cox and have no intention of packaging a whole host of picks -- probably including 2013 selections -- to make a bold move up the draft board.
The Atlanta Falcons made a huge trade in the first round last year and they went even further than the Bears would have to go. To get from the 27th pick to the sixth pick, the Falcons traded sent five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns to nab wide receiver Julio Jones. Those five picks were a first (27th overall) second (59th) and fourth (124th) in 2011 and first- and fourth-round picks this year.
Some are speculating the Philadelphia Eagles, who have the 15th pick, will look to trade up and select Cox.