Eagles’ Fletcher Cox Named Fourth Best Player in the NFL

Fletcher Cox

Getty Fletcher Cox was named the fourth-best player in the NFL.

There are only three players in the NFL better than Fletcher Cox. That’s right — only three players, at any position. The Eagles hulking defensive tackle received glowing accolades from Pro Football Focus where he landed at No. 4 on the website’s list of the Top 50 Players in the NFL.

Cox received one of the best pass-rush grades in the league (91.2) — second only to the Rams’ Aaron Donald — and PFF called him a “first-ballot Hall of Famer that will undoubtedly retire as one of the NFL’s top interior linemen to ever play the game.”

“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).”

Two other Eagles players made the list. Brandon Graham charted in at No. 41 and Jason Kelce ranked No. 24. The three guys ahead of Cox on the list were: Bobby Wagner (3), Tom Brady (2) and Donald (1). He was ranked higher than Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and Luke Kuechly.

Impressive company, to say the least.

Cox also checked in at No. 4 on Sports Illustrated’s list of the NFL’s Top Defensive Linemen in Football. Another list predictably topped by Donald.

Cox underwent foot surgery in the offseason after getting hurt and walking gingerly off the field in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. He has been steadily rehabbing ever since. During minicamp, the 28-year-old was seen working out on the sideline and promised he’d be back in time for training camp.

“Everything is going good. I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Cox told The Inquirer. “The goal is to be ready for training camp. Right now, I’m just focused on rehab, doing whatever I need to do to get back on the field.”

The Eagles need the 301-pound anchor in the middle of their defense, too. Cox finished with 95 pressures last season, a new career high — and set a new career-best in quarterback hits with 34. The defensive end also racked up 10.5 sacks and 46 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss in 2018. His four Pro Bowl selections are second only to Eagles legend Reggie White.

Speaking of the Hall of Famer, it’s not the first time Cox has been mentioned in the same sentence. In 2015, ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski turned heads when he compared the two players.

“I almost see a little bit of Reggie White,” Jaworski told 97.5 The Fanatic. “I know people think of Jerome Brown when they talk about interior line play. If you really watch and you chart where Fletcher Cox lines up. He’ll be in the three-gap. He’ll be in A-gap. He’ll line up outside against the tackle. It’s almost reminiscent of Reggie White.”

In seven seasons, Cox has tallied 330 total tackles and 44.5 sacks, with 111 quarterback hits. The Eagles drafted him with the No. 12 overall pick in 2012 and locked him up to a six-year, $103 million contract in 2016. He seems to be worth every penny.

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