Keep A Close Eye On Derek CoxFebruary 13th, 2013
There’s a darn good chance that one month from today the Bucs will be rid of letdown corner Eric Wright and be in possession of a couple of free-agent cornerbacks holding barely-dry contracts.
But what cornerbacks might be targeted?
Well, draft guru Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski dives into this speculation somewhat in a full-team breakdown of the Bucs’ needs on 987TheFan.com. Pawlowski says to “keep a close eye on Derek Cox,” a corner the Jaguars could wave goodbye to.
Bottom Line: The Bucs were last in the NFL in pass defense and lacked talent and experience at corner. I feel the Bucs need at least one, and possibly two, corners in free agency to increase the talent AND the experience. Drafting a corner is also a possibility, but this draft looks deeper than it is top heavy, so it might not be a necessity to reach on a corner in the 1st round if there is not one there worth taking with the 13th pick. Keep a close eye on Derek Cox from the Jaguars as the Bucs just hired Tony Oden as their new DBs coach. Oden spent last year with the Jaguars.
Top Free Agents: Brent Grimes (ATL), Sean Smith (MIA), Cary Williams (BAL), Dominique Rogers-Cromartie (PHI), Quinton Jammer (SD), Antoine Cason (SD), Captain Munnerlyn (CAR), Derek Cox (JAX), Rashean Mathis (JAX)
Cox is an interesting case. He’s 26 and supremely talented, but the guy was injury-riddled through the past four seasons. Check out what Jags beat writer Gene Frenette wrote about him last week.
[Cox] has missed 17 games the last three years with injuries to five different body parts. Whether it’s a hamstring, knee, groin, rib or back, Cox has been one of the most brittle starters in recent memory. On the flip side, the Jaguars have no proven cover corner going into next season if they don’t re-sign Cox. Rashean Mathis, who turns 33 in August, will likely be allowed to become a free agent. Plus, it’s hard to imagine coach Gus Bradley wanting to throw nickel back Mike Harris or Kevin Rutland into a permanent starting role. Aaron Ross, a free-agent pickup last year, has underperformed. At least the Jaguars can count on a healthy Cox to hold up in coverage and occasionally make a big play.
“You got to have that trust with the player,” said [Jags head coach Gus] Bradley. “They can be really good, but if they’re always on the sideline injured, that’s tough. Now [Cox] has some traits that we’re excited about.”
So what’s the price tag on injury-prone Cox, who played 12 games last season (4 interceptions)? That’s the mystery question. He could be worth a deal as a the second corner the Bucs nab in free agency, assuming they snatch two.