Thankfully the Miami Dolphins are in a position where arguably their top-two largest areas of need are plentiful in this year’s NFL draft, linebacker and wide receiver.
Miami shouldn’t fret too much if they miss out on top-linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round of this year’s draft as the 2021 class has plenty of depth that will still be floating around for the Dolphins who currently have four picks through two rounds.
For Miami who just last week released starting LB Kyle Van Noy and have three others set to hit free agency this week, the Dolphins could head into April’s draft with hardly any on its roster.
Name: Jabril Cox
School: Louisiana State University
Height: 6’ 4”
Weight: 231 LBS
Generally the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is known for its player’s superiority in terms of athleticism, but occasionally there are players from the lower Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level that get the chance to make an impact at a higher level of college football, or even in the NFL.
From North Dakota State to LSU
Cox earned that opportunity last season when he transferred to SEC powerhouse LSU. Prior to his time at LSU, Cox was a LB for North Dakota State after having a promising high school career in both football and basketball.
In 2017 he joined the FCS powerhouse Bison where he spent three outstanding seasons. NDSU is one of 11 schools who competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and has been the FCS National Champions every year between 2011-19 except for 2016.
In his time with the Bison he was named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman-of-the-Year in their championship year of 2017, Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year in their championship year of 2018, and was a two-time FCS All-American. He was an integral piece of a team that won three straight national championships during his time in Fargo.
Cox: “Bright Spot” in LSU Team Who Lost Many from National Championship Roster
Finally in his lone FBS season, Cox stood out as one of the few bright spots for LSU whose program had a down year after it lost quarterback Joe Burrow and many other starters from its National Championship team two years ago.
In ten games, Cox recorded 58 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, including an interception returned for a touchdown, and five pass deflections. Cox was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
Cox Excels in Many Different Coverage Schemes
The name of the game for Cox is coverage, coverage and more coverage. Measuring around 6-foot-4, 231 pounds Cox is an outstanding coverage LB that thrives in space. He is an elite cover in both man and zone coverages, making him the ideal matchup LB for tight ends, running backs, and occasionally, some slot receivers.
He has terrific range, mobility, and a nonstop motor. This makes him particularly attractive to NFL teams as teams continue to endlessly search for space defenders to match up with modern offenses.
Positive Burst On and Off the Field
Additionally, his burst and explosiveness enhances his potential pass-rushing ability if utilized correctly. If he’s unblocked, he can absolutely wreck plays in the backfield. Furthermore, multiple reports out of LSU rave about his leadership and character, a critical element for the Dolphins as they continue to build their culture moving forward.
Cox: Raw Prospect, Needs to Work on Run-Defense, Contact
When it comes to areas of concern for Cox, he is still relatively raw as an NFL Draft prospect. Coming from the FCS and only spending one year in the FBS, he still has a bit of a learning curve to manage moving forward. But the LSU LB certainly proved that he is well on his way to handling it and that he has an NFL future.
Aside from that, Cox’s run defense and playing through contact are the primary areas that need growth. He can be a little bit late to key and diagnose plays, although his high-level athleticism generally allows him to compensate.
With Miami Developing Culture, Cox is an Even Better Fit
Overall, Cox profiles as a productive NFL starter capable of playing all over the secondary and brings exceptionally rare coverage skills.
The Dolphins would be wise to strongly consider Cox if he’s still on the board when the pick in the second round. Miami would benefit greatly from his dynamic ability and he’s a terrific fit in the locker room culture they’re developing as well. as they look to take the next step. On Day 2, he offers great value with his physical potential and his ability to quickly adapt to his surroundings bodes well for him as he transitions to the NFL.