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2012 Phinsider Community NFL Mock Draft - Pick 9, Carolina Panthers

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Time to continue the 2012 Phinsider Community NFL Mock Draft, with the Carolina Panthers on the clock. Before we get to Panthers, it's time to look back at the previous eight picks:

Pick Team Player
1 Indianapolis Colt Andrew Luck, QB
2 Washington Redskins Robert Giriffin III, QB
3 Minnesota Vikings Matt Kalil, OT
4 Cleveland Browns Trent Richardson, RB
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Morris Claiborne, CB
6 St. Louis Rams Justin Blackmon, WR
7 Jacksonville Jaguars Quinton Coples, DE
8 Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill, QB

Now, we turn to the Cam Newton led Panthers:

Team: Carolina Panthers
GM: Orange_Cisco

Let's get to the pick:

With the ninth overall pick, the Caolina Panthers select:

Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State Bulldogs
Height: 6' 4", Weight: 298 lbs.

From Orange_Cisco:

Ron Rivera got his offensive Captain and star in his first ever draft pick as a head coach. This year he is looking to make his mark on the defensive side of the ball and there are plenty of options to choose from. Rivera, both as a player and a coach, has been involved with aggressive, attacking defenses. He will be trying to improve the cornerback position, to free up more blitzers, as well as drafting players more inclined to get to the Brees' and Ryan's of the world. Coples is on their radar but since he is already off the board the Carolina Panthers will select Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State.

Cox has a strong frame with a quick initial burst off the line and consistently wins the battle at the line of scrimmage. He is a high motor guy that has a mean streak that Rivera will appreciate. He is an explosive and versatile athlete that can play all along the defensive line but excels on the inside. Had quite an impressive stat line stat last year that included 14.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery returned for 52 yards and two blocked kicks. His production is better than the workout warrior (Poe) and I don't think Rivera wants another DT project (Brockers).

The Panthers are a year and a Cam Newton removed from a miserable 2-14 season so they have a lot of holes to fill. I think they get their high motor, pressure player to go along with Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. The Panthers will look to get their corner in the second round and cross their fingers that their linebackers are healthy.

From Walter Football:

Projected Round (2012): 1.

Cox was suspended for the first game of the 2011 season. He didn't have much production in the first five games of the year, but came alive with four sacks in Mississippi State's two games against South Carolina and Kentucky. Late in the season, Cox had quality performances against Alabama and Arkansas. In 2011, he totaled 56 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and one forced fumble.

Cox has a nice combination of speed and playmaking ability. He has the power to push linemen back and get them off balance along with the speed to shoot by them and get to the quarterback. His length and versatile skill set make him a fit at tackle or end in a 4-3 and a potential five technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense.

8/21/11: Fletcher Cox broke into the defensive tackle rotation as a true freshman in 2009. He had 29 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss that season. Last year, Cox had 29 tackles again with 6.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. He also blocked two kicks. Cox is a good athlete with the ability to make strides in 2011.

3/13/12: Cox had an excellent Combine. He featured phenomenal speed with good strength. Cox would have been labeled as the most impressive defensive tackle there if Poe hadn't grabbed all the headlines.
The Buffalo Bills are on the clock.