2021 NFL draft: LSU’s Jabril Cox suits trendy protection LB mildew to a tee

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2021-03-23 21:03:45

Main as much as the 2021 NFL draft, which begins April 29, Yahoo Sports activities will rely down our prime 100 general prospects. We’ll rely them down in teams of 5 for Nos. 100-51, adopted by extra in-depth reviews on our prime 50 gamers, with assist from our scouting assistant, Liam Blutman. We reserve the appropriate to make modifications to gamers’ grades and evaluations primarily based on damage updates, pro-day exercises or late-arriving info from NFL groups.

Earlier prospect rankings: Nos. 100-96 | 95-91 | 90-86 | 85-81 | 80-76 | 75-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. OT Liam Eichenberg | 49. WR Terrace Marshall Jr. | 48. LB Chazz Surratt | 47. EDGE Joe Tryon | 46. OT-OG Alex Leatherwood | 45. CB Asante Samuel Jr. | 44. DL Levi Onwuzurike

Here are how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

Listed here are how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports activities)

43. LSU LB Jabril Cox

6-foot-3, 233 kilos

Yahoo Sports activities draft grade: 5.90 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Athletic, three-down matchup linebacker with terrific protection capability, however can he be a plus run defender?

Video games watched: James Madison (2019), Vanderbilt (2020), Mississippi State (2020), Arkansas (2020), Florida (2020)

The thin: A 0-star Rivals recruit out of Kansas Metropolis, Cox was a dual-threat QB and linebacker popping out of highschool whose junior-season knee damage appeared to chill recruiting curiosity from SEC packages comparable to Arkansas and Missouri. However he signed with North Dakota State and redshirted in 2016. The following season Cox made 75 tackles (13 for losses), 4.5 sacks, one interception, 4 move breakups, one pressured fumble and three recoveries, incomes second-team All-Missouri Valley Convention choose and being named convention Freshman of the Yr. In 2018, he made 91 tackles (9.5 for losses), 4 sacks, 4 interceptions (two pick-sixes) and 7 move breakups, named first-team all-MVC and convention Defensive Participant of the Yr.

Cox was named AP FCS All-America in 2019 with 92 tackles (9.5 for losses), 5.5 sacks, one interceptions and 7 move breakups in 15 begins, ending a 31-game beginning streak when he missed one recreation with a torn labrum (which he performed many of the season with). After the season, he transferred to LSU and began all 10 video games, making 58 tackles (6.5 for losses), one sack, three interceptions (one pick-six), eight move breakups and a fumble restoration, incomes second-team all-SEC. Cox attended the 2021 Senior Bowl.

LSU linebacker Jabril Cox stepped in at the SEC level and had a strong 2020 season. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

LSU linebacker Jabril Cox stepped in on the SEC stage and had a powerful 2020 season. (AP Picture/John Raoux)

Upside: Unbelievable playmaking manufacturing — unimaginable nostril for the ball. Collected 38.5 TFLs, 15 sacks, 26 passes defended and 4 fumble recoveries in 55 profession video games. Nice return expertise with the ball in his fingers — 9 profession interceptions, 254 return yards and three pick-sixes at two colleges.

Extremely skilled faculty performer who was an integral a part of three-time champion FCS program and defending FBS champs at LSU. Carried out nicely in huge video games and solely missed one profession contest. Performed damage and barely left the sector.

Didn’t look misplaced in any respect amongst SEC competitors. Performs very quick and has the athleticism to make impression performs in area — exhibits up making performs from each angle. Strikes nicely laterally and strikes to shut like a viper.

Protection capability is his largest calling card. Fashionable linebacker who can drop into zones or match up in man protection with all totally different sizes and shapes of move catchers. Robust lateral-quickness capability to match twitchy receivers, backs and tight ends. Knocked away a ton of passes in Senior Bowl one-on-one protection drills vs. tight ends and backs.

This play in opposition to Arkansas was practically Cox’s fourth profession pick-six — lower than a yard in need of scoring. Watch as he fakes strain, good points correct depth in his drop, reads the eyes of QB Feleipe Franks, makes the INT and practically homes it:

IDs and diagnoses run motion rapidly. Will come down exhausting and problem the sting. Made a number of play-saving tackles downfield to wash up others’ errors. Good blitzing capability. Takes good paths to the QB and closes quick. Scheme-diverse participant who operated beneath three totally different defensive coordinators.

Good physique sort to deal with protection/blitzing position. Peak-weight proportional. Good size — glorious wingspan (79 1/2 inches) and stable arm size (32 1/2 inches). Strikes nicely for his measurement. Good all-around athletic template.

Pure-born chief — units a tone for his staff. Might have declared for the 2020 NFL draft however picked LSU to problem himself additional. Instantly made his presence felt in Baton Rouge — sturdy work ethic and follow habits. Mentioned one LSU staffer to Yahoo Sports activities: “We want he might have been right here three extra years. Super participant and younger man.”

Draw back: Would possibly by no means be a real enforcer within the run recreation. Taxed when sorting by way of visitors and may be washed up within the muck. Lacks high-end pop on the level of assault. Not a finesse participant, per se, however hardly an influence participant both.

Can tackle blocks higher. Not a real stack-and-shed linebacker and will do a greater job of slipping blocks, getting low and discovering higher paths round blockers. Operates finest when he’s well-shielded up entrance and free to movement and assault.

Good athletic traits however lacks elite burst and take-on energy. Small fingers (8 3/4 inches) didn’t trigger points in protection however is likely to be regarding when trying to detach from blocks. Didn’t all the time maximize his good size.

Will hand over some catches in protection — not a real sticky, blanket coverer. Finds himself in catch-up mode. Allowed some clear catches in Senior Bowl one-on-one protection drills vs. tight ends and backs. Nonetheless studying to fully belief his eyes and instincts in zone protection.

May not develop his blitzing expertise if he’s tasked with intensive protection duties. Will be too reactive and never proactive sufficient nearer to the road of scrimmage.

Finest-suited vacation spot: Cox would possibly begin his NFL profession as a protection linebacker, occasional blitzer and special-teams performer. However he possesses all of the traits and instincts to develop right into a three-down starter in time. He’s scheme numerous and will have mass enchantment — each staff within the league might use a linebacker who can cowl the way in which he does.

Do you know: At Raytown South Excessive Faculty, Cox performed nearly each place — QB, vast receiver, linebacker, security and cornerback — and was all-conference at QB and linebacker. He additionally was a four-year starter for the basketball staff.

Participant comp: In time, Cox might be a Fred Warner-caliber participant.

Anticipated draft vary: Spherical 2

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