Sunday, February 14, 2016

We'll Notice Cox More When Eagles Hit

Fletcher Cox is the highest-drafted Eagle since Corey Simon in 2000, but he hasn't been a standout star in OTAs. No defensive tackles are stars in OTAs, which don't involve pads or many run plays. Cox's time will come.

We'll Notice Cox More When Eagles Hit

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox will be able to showcase his talents once the pads go on. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox will be able to showcase his talents once the pads go on. (Alex Brandon/AP)

I've watched a couple weeks of Eagles OTAs now, rookie camp before that, and if you want to know what I've learned about Fletcher Cox, I can confirm that the No. 1 pick is wearing jersey No. 91. Also that he is polite to reporters.

Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

This is no knock on Cox, the defensive tackle the Birds traded up to draft 12th overall, their highest selection in 12 years. It's just that all this work has been without pads, most of it passing drills. So I can tell you that rookie free agent wideout Demaris Johnson looks nifty and speedy, I can tell you that second-round rookie defensive end Vinny Curry flashes speed and size off the edge, I can tell you that the other second-rounder, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, looks smooth in pass coverage, I can tell you that third-round rookie quarterback Nick Foles seems to have a strong arm. I can even assert that fourth-round rookie corner Brandon Boykin seems to have a good knack for the slot.

But I have yet to see any of the defensive tackles put in a position to do much of anything, except hustle downfield in pursuit after the offense completes a long pass. If Cox ends up having to do a lot of that this season, the Eagles are in trouble.

More coverage
Birds' Eye View: Vick tired of injury questions
Birds' Eye View: Maclin-Babin scrap at OTAs
Moving the Chains: Impact of DeSean's drops

When the pads go on at Lehigh in a couple months, it will be time to pay attention to Cox. Even more when exhibition games arrive.

"It's really a passing camp. We've got no pads on, no contact, only like two steps (toward the passer), turn and run to the ball. It's really more of a getting in shape, conditioning thing for the d-linemen," Cox said after Friday's OTA work. The Eagles reconvene at NovaCare on Monday. "It's real hard [to get a sense of what real action will be like] ... the most important thing is, you don't want nobody to get hurt without pads on."

 "I'm getting off the ball a whole lot quicker," than when the workouts started, said Cox, who attributed this to being more familiar with Juan Castillo's defense. "I feel like I've progressed a whole lot from Day 1. I went out there the first day [with the vets] and I was the last one getting off the ball. Now, it's turned around the other way. I'm getting off the ball with everybody else."

Cox said of defensive line coach Jim Washburn, "He's what I thought he was. "He gets after it ... He always talks to me and Vinny. He says we're the [quickest] two to ever pick up [Washburn's concepts] that he ever had. We talk about it a lot. We take a few notes, but basically, coach Wash does a good job of bringing us outside and walking us through it."

Cox has been making his way out to the field before the morning session, to work on details that he feels veterans such as Trent Cole and Jason Babin have mastered, but Cox  is still learning -- the angle he lines up at, how to use his hands, and so on.

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