Saturday, February 6, 2016

Fletcher Cox: There's no pressure

Fletcher Cox said there's no additional pressure because he's a No. 1 draft pick.

Fletcher Cox: There's no pressure

"I´m sure there´s a lot of expectation of me," Fletcher Cox said Wednesday. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
"I'm sure there's a lot of expectation of me," Fletcher Cox said Wednesday. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Fletcher Cox said there's no additional pressure because he's a No. 1 draft pick.

Even if the defensive tackle is feeling the heat, Andy Reid and the Eagles coaches are doing their best to unburden Cox.

"I've heard stories where guys had a lot of [expectations]. I'm sure there's a lot of expectation of me," Cox said Wednesday, a few days before the Eagles open their season at Cleveland. "I just can't come in and things happen right then. You got to grow into the system. I feel like I'm doing pretty good. I don't feel like there's any pressure on me."

The Eagles haven't had a top pick fly this far under the radar in some time, especially one they traded up for. There are a few likely reasons that Cox hasn't been hounded by the media since he arrived out of Mississippi State.

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For one, he isn't expected to come in and fill a glaring hole. Cox will be part of the Eagles' defensive line rotation. Will he start? Well, that depends on how the Eagles align their front four on the first play. Cullen Jenkins, who typically starts in the middle, could start at end as he's done in the preseason.

Derek Landri was starting opposite Cox when Jenkins slid outside. Ultimately, though, it does not matter matter if Cox starts or not. He'll see almost as many snaps with the second unit. But the starter label does come with a certain amount of attention, as rookie strong-side linebacker Mychal Kendricks has noticed.

Still, Cox is a first-round pick and he will be expected to contribute right away. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn has tried to lessen the rookie's load.

"Like he always tells me, there's no pressure on me," Cox said. "He don't want to put pressure on me to go out and be somebody that I'm not. He wants me to go out and do the things that he coached me to do."

Reid said Wednesday that he saw improvement out of Cox every week. The 21-year-old said he made his biggest jump in between the first and second preseason games.

"He's made great progress from the start," Jenkins said. "I remember back in OTAs and ... he's made tremendous progress. For him, this is going to be carrying over to the game -- first one under the lights Sunday."

Jenkins, entering his ninth season in the NFL, said that Cox reminded him of Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who has been to seven Pro Bowls. Cox (6-foot-5, 298 pounds) and Seymour (6-6, 317) are similarly sized. Seymour has racked up a large number of sacks (54.5) rushing from the inside, something Cox is supposed to excel at.

"He kind of reminds me kind of like a Seymour type," Jenkins said. "I think with his size and his length I think that that's somebody he should study and that he could really turn into that type player."

Staff Writer
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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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