There have certainly been mixed reviews about the league’s push to carnivorously overtake the media spotlight for the full 12 months of the year by pushing the NFL Draft back to May. While it my end up having it’s benefits by helping to fill the dead period between post-Draft and the start of OTAs, the extended pre-Draft dead period has forced some to get creative with their content. Included on that list are the extensive amount of “do-over” drafted that have pushed out by NFL.com, in which they go back and re-pick for every team based off our 20/20 hindsight of the those draftees actual performance in the league.
So far, the NFL official site has covered the 2003-2005, 2008, and 2010 drafts, landing the St. Louis Rams some interesting prospects that may have changed their outlook over the last decade. They also took away some beloved figured, including the loss of Steven Jackson, who did not make it all the way to the Rams in the 2004 “Do-Over Draft.” Looking ahead to the their 2012 redrafting, how did the Rams fair?
With the No.14 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select…
Fletcher Cox, DT/DE (Mississippi State)
Interestingly enough, Cox was one of the “favorites” for the St. Louis Rams headed into the Draft, with some even projecting that the Rams might bite on the dominating interior lineman as early as No.6, their “original” spot after the block-buster trade with the Washington Redskins. Cox would end up being taken No.12 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cox would go on to have an above-average rookie year, grading out 18th overall among interior defensive linemen, according to Pro Football Focus. His more “polished” game landed him 24 total quarterback disruptions, 24 tackles, and 21 defensive stops; a fine showing in limited, rotational snaps. However, Brockers was equally as impressive, statistically, beating out Cox in sacks, posting a significantly better run stuffing grade, and ended the season a similar 21 defensive stops figure. Moreover, Brockers had to battle back from injury to start his career, having missed a chuck of the opening quarter of the season after getting his ankle rolled up on in the preseason.
In 2013, Cox was pushed to the outside in the Eagles new 3-4 scheme, managing well in his first season as defensive end. However, Brockers improved on his numbers as well, including another 5 or more sack season and a career-high 32 defensive stops (10th among interior defensive linemen). His pass rushing grade did take a bit of a blow, which is understandable given his role on the right side, next to the 2013 PFWA Defensive Player of the Year, Robert Quinn. However, he still managed a Top 25 run stuffing grade, and committed only one penalty in 807 defensive snaps; an impressive feat given that players like Gerald McCoy and Nick Fairley both managed 10+ penalties last season.
Unless the Rams planned on transitioning to a 3-4 front, the selection of Fletcher Cox over Michael Brockers doesn’t make too much sense. Brockers has 22 lbs. on Cox on the interior, and has proven to be both an advantageous pass rusher and a more-than-capable brick wall in the center of the St. Louis Rams defense. Moreover, Brockers is still an extremely raw specimen, and with added interior line depth and (hopefully) some added talent in the back-seven, he could certainly push his way into the conversation for the Top 10 defensive tackles in the league in the very near future as his progresses and perfects his craft.
Thanks, but no thanks, 2012 “Do-Over” Draft.
Tags: St. Louis Rams