Pro Football Focus tends to favor Aaron Donald over everybody, but they won’t allow that to overshadow Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox.
When NFL fans casually discuss defensive lineman in today’s game, the first name to pop up most of the time is Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle, Aaron Donald. And guess what? I don’t blame them. Donald is easily one of, if not, the best defensive lineman in the game.
In no way is Donald overrated, and he’s undoubtedly a handful against opposing linemen around the league. But just because Donald is always talked about, doesn’t mean that credit should be taken away from others. Specifically, Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox.
NFL Players understand just how difficult it is to contain Cox up front. However, the hype for Donald tends to take away some of the credit that Cox rightfully deserves. Last season, Cox raised the bar for himself as a pass rusher.
Despite having unreliable help beside him, the Eagles’ big man put on a performance that established him as one of the best in the game right now. With 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles for losses, and 34 hits on the quarterback, Cox established himself to be in his prime putting on a peak performance. And with help beside him in 2019, he may only get better.
We probably won’t hear about it too much though, as Cox tends to fly under the radar. Instead, Donald will get the shine, rightfully so. However, just because Cox hasn’t garnered the honors that Donald has gained over the last year, doesn’t mean his hard work has gone unnoticed by the analysts. Recently, Pro Football Focus put together a quick-hitting appreciation piece regarding Cox’s impact thus far in his career, and there was some high praise in the article that is sure to give the Eagles and their fans a boost in confidence as Cox progresses on.
When it’s all said and done…
Has anybody ever thought of Cox’s true impact on the Eagles since he had been drafted in 2012? I mean, we knew he was good — but it wasn’t that obvious he was going to be THIS good. Ever since the change of scheme, and going from defensive coach Billy Davis to Jim Schwartz, Cox and the rest of the Eagles’ defensive line has benefitted big time. Cox went from being the best on the team to being one of the best in the league. And after his dominant season in 2018, PFF’s Austin Gayle went out on a limb and made a bold prediction regarding Cox.
"“Donald is the best interior defender in the sport right now and could very well go down as the best the NFL has ever seen when it’s all set and done. Cox is a first-ballot Hall of Famer that will undoubtedly retire as one of the NFL’s top interior defensive linemen to ever play the game.”"
When it’s all said and done, “Cox is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” Quite the take there. A couple more seasons like last year and Cox should be well on his way to Canton. Obviously, we will knock on wood after that statement by Gayle, but this take isn’t too far fetched. Cox might not be the flashiest or quickest lineman, but the way he overpowers his opponents is highly impressive on tape. 2019 is fitting to be yet, another big year for No. 91 — especially since he has not only Timmy Jernigan next to him, but a Pro Bowler in Malik Jackson as well.