CB Derek Cox had a lot to prove last season. After the Jaguars traded a 2010 second-round pick and a 2009 seventh-round pick to the Patriots in order to move up and select Cox in the third round, the William & Mary product, who wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine was eager to show that he could play with the big boys.
"I never got completely attached to the draft," Cox told PFW in a phone interview last week. "I didn't worry about it. I said, 'whatever happens, at the end of the day, I'm still going to have to prove myself.' … I was like, wherever I go, draft or free agency, it's necessary that I prove myself and my teammates respect me as a player, and know that I belong at this level."
Cox quickly showed that he belonged, starting all 16 games and leading the Jaguars in interceptions and passes defensed (seven). He finished tied for second in the league among rookie defensive backs in interceptions (four).
Cox credits defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and veteran teammates Rashean Mathis and Scott Starks for helping him as a rookie.
"Coach Tucker did an excellent job of making sure that I was preparing well, and that I understood what it takes to be successful."
"Mathis and Starks are guys that will reach out and ask you how you are doing. Make sure you know what's going on. If I had questions, I never felt like I was asking too much."
Cox's greatest strength is reacting when the ball is in the air. He hopes to improve his tackling.
"I missed more tackles that I wanted to. That was frustrating, because I don't have a problem with contact," he said. "It's moreso angles that I need to work on, and attacking the ballcarrier. Guys in the NFL can make you miss, so it is something that I have to work on, giving the ballcarrier only one way to go."
Despite the success of his rookie season, Cox still has a lot to prove.
"Personally, I thought I was a first-round pick. People may look at me and say, 'out of William and Mary, Division I-AA school, what you talking about?' But that gives you an idea of how confident I am, and that's how I play."
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