When the day began, Howie Roseman didnt think the Eagles had a shot at Fletcher Cox.
Wanted him. Just didnt think it was going to be possible.
It was important for us to keep both of our second-round picks, Roseman said Friday morning. If we were going to move up, we were going to do it without giving up those picks. Honestly, we thought hed be gone.
Every year, somebody inexplicably drops a few spots in the draft, and on Thursday it just happened to be a guy the Eagles covet.
They jumped up three spots, from No. 15 to No. 12, and selected Cox, a defensive tackle out of Mississippi State that they believe will rejuvenate an aging interior defensive line spot.
Once Buffalo took Stephon Gilmore at nine, we decided to work the phones, Roseman said. A lot of things fell into place for us. Carolina taking Luke Kuechly. The one thing we had going for us was that there was no hesitancy, no question about what to do.
It was a similar scenario to 2009, when Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin began an unexpected slide through the first round, and the Eagles moved up from 21 to 19 to take a guy they began the day assuming they had no shot at.
We had gone over all the scenarios, and we didnt think Fletcher would be there at 12, but we were ready to put things into motion once the pieces started falling our way, Roseman said. Right after Kansas City picked Dontari Poe at No. 11, we called Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who did a great job working with us to put the trade together, and we were able to get the deal done.
This is the sixth time in 12 years the Eagles have taken a defensive lineman in the first round. The last four times theyve picked in the top 15, theyve taken a defensive lineman -- Corey Simon at No. 6 in 2000, Jerome McDougle at No. 13 in 2003, Brodrick Bunkley at No. 14 in 2006 and Brandon Graham at No. 13 in 2010. (The Eagles drafted Mike Patterson 31st overall in 2005.)
But Roseman said the Eagles didnt go into Thursday focused on snagging the best available defensive lineman.
We were true to our board, he said. We didnt go in having to get a defensive tackle. He was by far the highest-rated player who was still out there. We liked him, and we went and got him.
The Eagles were thrilled to land an impact defensive lineman who, barring disaster, will contribute from Day 1 to a defense in desperate need of pass rush and playmaking from the interior defensive line.
Cox, 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, is fast enough at 4.79 to rush the passer from the outside in nickel out of a 3-4 front, stout enough to be a force inside on running downs and strong and fast enough to collapse the pocket.
Youre talking about a guy whos 6-4, 300 pounds and just turned 21 years old, Roseman said. Hes got long arms, a high motor -- hes 300 pounds, but when you look at him, he looks like hes 260. Itll be no problem for him to put on some more bulk and get bigger.
Roseman, who graduated from Florida and started out with the Eagles scouting the Southeast, loves mining the SEC, and he said he was struck by the fact that Cox was SEC Defensive Player of the Week four times last year.
Thats voted on by the coaches, Roseman said. So it tells you what the other coaches in the conference think of him. Were really excited to add him..
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The Eagles go into Friday with seven remaining picks -- Nos. 46 and 51 in the second round, No. 88 in the third round, No. 153 in the fifth round, Nos. 194 and 200 in the sixth round and No. 229 in the seventh round.
If they keep both second-round picks, this will be the first time since 1993 the Eagles will draft three times within the first 51 picks. It will also be the sixth time under Andy Reid the Eagles have had two second-round picks.
Among the players the Eagles could target on Friday at 46 or 51 are offensive tackles Jonathan Martin of Stanford and Bobby Massie of Mississippi; outside linebacker Lavonte David of Nebraska; cornerback Janoris Jenkins; Casey Hayward of Vanderbilt and Brandon Boykin from Georgia; running back LaMichael James of Oregon; and wide receiver Rueben Randle from LSU.