NFL Network revealed the 30 through 21 spots on the 2019 NFL Top 100 on Monday evening and Fletcher Cox made the list. The Philadelphia Eagles’ All-Pro defensive tackle finished at No. 28 overall after coming in at No. 69 last year.
It’s nice to see Cox getting more love. Check out how his peers talk about him:
Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels
“I have a decent amount of children. You put your hands under your armpits and pick them up. I don’t know if Fletch has any kids, but a lot of those offensive linemen might confuse him for their dad. Like, when he has his hands up in their armpits, and he lifts them up off their feet, and throws them … he must just dangle them in the air, let their feet kind of scrape across the turf or the grass a little bit … or he’ll just run them into the quarterback. I don’t know. I think he just does it to them for fun.”
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins
“It’s crazy because I can see the fear in [an] offensive lineman’s face, like, going against him all the time.”
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald
“He’s just a monster. For him to be as big as he is, he’s explosive, he’s quick, he’s got some technique with him too, but the power he got, is ridiculous.” […] “I ain’t going to put my [offensive linemen] out there, but he disrupted play a lot. I’ll say it like that. You’ll see it. Look through. There’s a lot of plays. You’ll seem ‘em. (laughs) He kind of dogged the center on one play, just powered him back. One arm forward and just threw him like that. That’s a grown man right there.”
Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
“Once he gets moving forward, you’re not going to stop him from moving forward. But then you think that’s all he can do is just run you over and then he hits an inside move club like what he did on us [with the Buccaneers in 2018] and sack [Ryan Fitzpatrick]. Fitz got down quick because he seen that locomotive coming.
Cool to hear how Donald, who is such a dominant defensive tackle, talks about Cox. There’s clearly a lot of respect there.
And yet, putting Cox at No. 28 still underrates just how special he is. He deserves to be even higher. More context from Pro Football Focus:
It’s a shame that Cox plays in the same league as Donald; he’d be the unanimous decision for top defensive interior if it weren’t for the Rams superstar. Cox’s pass-rush win rate in 2018 (20.9%) is the fourth-best single-season mark of any defensive interior in the PFF era. And his 91.2 pass-rush grade this past season, another career-high for the big man, also ranks inside the top 10 among qualifiers since 2006. From PFF’s Austin Gayle in his latest feature on Cox comparing him and Donald: “Among the 125 interior defensive linemen with 500 or more pass-rush snaps since 2015, Donald ranks first in pass-rush grade (95.9), total pressures (375) and pass-rush win percentage (22.1%). Cox ranks second behind Donald in all three metrics. And the trend continues, as Donald led all at his position in pass-rush grade in each of the past four seasons (2015-18). Cox ranked second two of the years (2017 & 2018) and third in another (2015).”
Cox is only 28 years old so he should still have plenty of high level football left in him. The Eagles will be counting on him as a defensive anchor.
Cox is now the fourth Eagles player to make this year’s NFL Top 100. Zach Ertz finished at No. 40 overall, Jason Kelce checked in at No. 72 overall, and Carson Wentz made the cut at No. 96 overall. It appears these four players will be the only Eagles to make this year’s list.
If that’s the case, that means a number of Eagles got snubbed. Lane Johnson, Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Brooks, and Brandon Graham are players who belong in the top 100 conversation.