Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox does a footwork drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Evaluating players is an inexact science. NFL teams all view players through their own lenses, with an eye toward how the tangible skills and intangible quirks and how they fit into that particular program. Pundits often suffer from a case of the hive mind, but their opinions of player can vary widely as well. Look no further than this year's class of defensive tackles for proof, including a pair of names that have been linked to the St. Louis Rams through various mock drafts and other machinations.
In this instance, I'm talking about Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and LSU's Michael Brockers.
Nolan Nawrocki, the draft analyst at Pro Football Weekly, raved about Cox this week. He also put Cox as the Rams' sixth-overall pick in his most recent mock draft, as we discussed yesterday.
Wes Bunting, the draft analyst at the National Football Post has a different opinion of Cox. Bunting puts Cox in his third tier of defensive tackles in this draft. Here's what he says about him:
I think his best spot might be as a 34 five technique who is able to penetrate and make plays off the ball. He's raw and needs to learn to play with his pad level lower. However, as a potential five technique he's a guy who has the skill set to earn a starting role.
Nawrocki made a comment about Cox needing to play with his pads lower too, but described him as a fit in either defensive front. Teams are ultimately the ones that have to make that call, and there's a risk involved, remember Adam Carriker?
Bunting has Brockers as his top defensive tackle, the only guy in his first-tier.