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Top 50 Players of 2016: Former Dallas Draft Target Has Been Tough To Block

(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.)

Name:Fletcher Cox
Team:Philadelphia Eagles
Position:Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight:6-4 / 296
Experience:4 seasons
College:Mississippi State  

*2016 vs. Cowboys: *Cox and the Eagles travel to Arlington for an Oct. 30 meeting on Sunday Night Football before the Eagles play host to Dallas in the regular-season finale on Jan. 1.

What's the Deal: Cox is coming off the most productive season of his career, producing 9.5 sacks for the Eagles in 2015, along with 50 tackles and three forced fumbles.

The Eagles recently rewarded Cox with a six-year contract extension worth over $103 million, including $63 million guaranteed. The new deal makes Cox the second-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL behind only Ndamukong Suh, who makes $19 million per season -- compared to Cox, whose contract nets him a little more than $17.1 million annually.

In four years, Cox has shown to be worth the money, consistently being a disruptive force against the pass and run.

In 2012, the Cowboys had the No. 14 overall pick and targeted Cox for their defensive line. But instead, they traded up to No. 6 to take cornerback Morris Claiborne. However, it's unlikely Cox would've fallen to them had they stayed put, considering the Eagles grabbed him with the 12th pick.

Expect This:The Eagles will be more than ready for the Cowboys' offensive line, and will probably talk about it beforehand. Cox and his D-Line teammates have always welcomed the challenge of facing the Cowboys line of three first-round picks, along with La'el Collins and Doug Free. For the most part, the Eagles have held their own and even dominated the line of scrimmage in some of Philly's victories. Cox can be so dangerous to block because he can line up at numerous spots, making it a quarterback's top priority to identify him before the snap.

Previous Meetings:Cox has posted just two sacks against the Cowboys, once in 2012 as a rookie and then again in 2014 during Philly's Thanksgiving Day win over Dallas. Some might say the Cowboys have controlled him and kept Cox away from the quarterback. However, with a sack against Dallas every other year, perhaps 2016 will be his time again. 

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • There are few players in this league that have the ability to play well in any scheme you put them in -- Fletcher Cox is one of those guys.
  • He is a combination of physical toughness and explosive quickness. He is tough to move due to his upper body power and strength, which he shows in his hands when he extends them.
  • Cox plays with nice balance when he makes contact. It is rare that you see him knocked off balance or out of position with his body. Can easily control blockers and when he sees the ball, he sheds and finish the play.
  • I'm impressed with his ability to play with lateral quickness and agility. You have to make sure that he is completely blocked, because I have seen him make plays where he split double teams or went back door on a block and still made the tackle.
  • Motor, effort and pursuit are outstanding as a pass rusher. He has the ability to play as a true rush defensive end with a full tool set of moves. Will go with a quick arm-over or hit you with a powerful rip move.
  • Shows the ability to bend when he gets the edge and can be disruptive in the pocket to finish. Played as a 3-4 defensive end early in his career and now under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will line up as the under-tackle in a 4-3. Big-time, physical player. Is one of the toughest players for this Dallas offensive line to have to block each year.  

The writers of have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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