Pros: Has great size and good speed and projects well to man coverage schemes in the NFL. He also matches up well against bigger, more physical receivers which is always in high demand. He locates the ball very well in the air and mirrors receivers well when they are running their routes, and plays the ball very well and makes plays on the ball well as evidenced by his impressive pass break-up numbers. His long arms and his good leaping ability help with pass deflections, and shows good ability to break on the ball. He is also a productive return man who actually has very good vision as a returner.
Cons: He gives up a lot of underneath plays. He can take bigger guys out of the game easily, but struggles against smaller, quicker receivers for this reason. He gives receivers a lot of cushion (this may be because of the scheme he was in) and does not tackle well at all, and has issues taking good angles to ball-carriers and does not break down well in space to make the tackle. He doesn’t have very good hands either, though they are decent. With his long arms and good size he should be better in press coverage than he is, and should also be better versus the run than he is. He is a pure cover corner in the sense that he does not fly to the ball on run plays.
Overall: Cox has a lot of potential as a NFL corner. He reminds me a lot of Antonio Cromartie but without the elite physical attributes. He has good ball skills and plays the ball well in flight, and matches up well with bigger, more physical receivers because of his size, arm length, leaping ability and speed. However because he gives up so much cushion and needs refinement in his backpedal he struggles against smaller, quicker receivers. He could contribute as a rookie, but without good coaching and some development he will struggle when he does get playing time. He has #1 corner potential, but if he isn’t developed well enough to improve some of his fundamentals (backpedal, jamming and tackling) he will not realize this potential. However if he improves those areas of game they would complement his ability to neutralize bigger, stronger receivers very nicely and it would probably make him a very good starting corner in the NFL. He isn’t a boom or bust guy, but he has a high ceiling and probably a nickel cornerback floor depending on how well he cleans up his fundamentals.
Projection: 2nd-3rd round: If he didn’t have a couple of off-field questions (such as his suspension) I think he would go higher, but he is in a bit of a free-fall right now. I think he would be a terrific value in the late 2nd round though, and I think that is ultimately where he will end up. But I could also see him sliding into the early 3rd round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
MAN COVERAGE: 3.5
ZONE COVERAGE: 3.0
BALL SKILLS: 4.0
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