CLEVELAND- When there is an NFL draft that features this much depth on both sides of the ball, there is bound to be a prospect that has first-round talent that remains on the board. There will be several such prospects in this year’s draft. Former North Dakota State and LSU linebacker Jabril Cox is among the first-round talents who should get the call on Thursday, April 29th. However, there is a good chance he will still be on the board during the second round on Friday, April 30th.
NFL general managers looking for an immediate upgrade on defense may want to have Cox on their day two draft board. Cox is freakishly athletic and can make an immediate impact on a team that needs a linebacker. There are a few things that stand out in his game film. He excels in pass coverage which is clearly his best skill. He has good play recognition and has proper tackling technique. He isn’t tricked on screen pass plays at all. He shows pass coverage against intermediate routes which is good to see. He has the range to cover anyone. It’s important that an NFL team works with him on pressuring quarterbacks. That’s something Cox needs to add to his tools.
Cox brings more than just pure talent. He has grit and determination to succeed against any challenge and has an “I’m going to prove myself attitude”. He tore his ACL in high school and did more than come back from that. He played with the same intensity and success as before the ACL tear. One would never know he suffered a ligament tear at all. He didn’t get the number of scholarship offers he should have and that was certainly odd. He accepted a scholarship offer from North Dakota State and was asked to study game film on linebackers so he could be a really good one. Cox was mostly a quarterback in high school. This must’ve seemed like a huge shock to him. Cox accepted the challenge and there were no complaints about it. Looking back on it, the decision by North Dakota State turned out to be a really good one and clearly benefited Cox.
He transferred to LSU in 2020 and made an impact on their defense as well. To put this move in perspective, he went from 757 miles south of Canada to 359 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. This kind of transition probably wasn’t simple. He went from a northern climate frequently cold temperatures and snow to the hot and humid state of Louisiana. New students, new area, no problem. Cox had his best season in 2020 with 37 solo tackles. three interceptions and a fumble recovery. He’s yet to achieve his full potential and can progress into a Pro-Bowl caliber linebacker. He needs to develop more skills but he has a good starting point.