Even defensive line coach Jim Washburn gets caught up in the mock draft fever.
With a majority of mock drafts picking Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to go in the top 10 picks, Washburn had a hard time imagining he would get the guy he wanted all along.
But when Cox was still on the board with the 12th overall pick, the Eagles traded with Seattle and moved up three spots to nab the dynamic interior pass rusher who posted 5.0 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss as a junior in 2011. Needless to say, Washburn is happy.
"He's the guy we wanted all along. I can't believe 11 teams passed on him. He's a very good football player," Washburn said. "He took my breath away with a couple of the things he did."
Washburn credited scout Brett Veach for finding him early in the process. Washburn went to work out Cox at Mississippi State. After a drill, Patriots defensive lineman Kyle Love, a former Mississippi State player who was at the workout, compared Cox to Richard Seymour. Washburn said that was a good comparison.
In three consecutive days, Washburn worked out the top three defensive tackle prospects in Cox, LSU's Michael Brockers and Memphis' Dontari Poe. Washburn ranked Cox as the best of the three.
"This guy's got every trait to look for," Washburn said. "He's the biggest 296-pounder I've ever seen."
Washburn and Cox bonded over a two-and-a-half hour dinner at The Veranda Restaurant in Starkville, Miss. following the workout. They each bonded over their love of hunting. Certainly, the Eagles want to have Cox start hunting quarterbacks. The Eagles defensive had 50 sacks last season. All but four of them came from a defensive lineman. But Washburn wants Eagles fans to have a little bit of patience. Cox did things technique-wise at Mississippi State that he won't do in Philly.
"He's got a chance to be a really good football player," Washburn said.
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