Last week, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was named to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s All-Rookie Team. This week, Kiper is back with more praise for two young Eagles.
On Monday, Kiper introduced his list of the 21 rookies (11 on offense, 10 on defense) whom he believes could break out next season. The ESPN draft guru named two Eagles defenders to his list, including Cox.
"OK, Cox doesn't really belong here," Kiper wrote. "That's because he cracked my all-rookie team as one of the top rookie defensive tackles. But I put him on this list because he picked up 4.5 sacks in the second half of the season and looks more effective as a pass-rusher. His stock could grow early in 2013."
Cox finished his rookie season with 65 total tackles, and ended the year tied for first on the team with 5.5 sacks. The team's first-round pick last season, he also contributed seven tackles for loss and 24 quarterback hurries. As Kiper said, the rookie improved as the season went on and often looked like the best defensive lineman on the team. The Eagles would certainly love for Cox to take that next step in 2013.
Kiper also had high praise for another rookie defender. Brandon Boykin earned a healthy amount of playing time last season, both as the team's kick returner and its starting slot corner. But Kiper sees even bigger things on the horizon for Boykin.
"He made his mark as a kick returner, but the rookie also found his way onto the field in a crowded secondary," said Kiper. "Anticipating some turnover there, you could see him working his way into a starting job in 2013. I like the moxie of the former Georgia star, and I think there's room for development."
The Eagles got a steal when they selected the multi-talented Boykin in the fourth round of last year's draft. The Georgia product made his presence felt early, winning the slot corner and kick returner jobs with an impressive Training Camp. He finished the season with 25 combined tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. In the return game, he finished seventh in the NFL with 1,037 return yards.
To read Kiper's entire list, click here.
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