Dakota Cox – LB – New Mexico
Games watched: Boise State, Wyoming and UTSA (Bowl Game)
Height: 5’11 6/8″
Weight: 226 lbs
Dakota Cox was a four year starter for New Mexico, where he led the team in tackles in all four of his seasons. His career tackle total is an impressive 403. Cox is a little undersized at 5’11”, 226 lbs – but he plays much bigger than his size. Cox’s best attribute is his ability to get through trash and find the ball. His range is good and he has quick feet in a short area to be able to beat blockers. He plays in an attacking scheme and is given license to play on his toes and make plays. There were a number of examples where he was able to beat blockers across their face and make a play on the ball carrier. At his size, getting off blocks is going to be an issue at the next level. He does show an ability to drop his hips and get off blocks, but there were times when he struggled more. At times he lined up at the line of scrimmage, and I thought was less effective having a body on him early in the play. His tackling is first class, there’s some real snap to them. He has experience in man and zone coverage. He can get depth with a backpedal in zone. Against Wyoming, there were a few plays where he bit on play action fakes, but this wasn’t the case in the other two games I watched. In man, he looks good when the receiver is in front of him, but tightness in the hips is evident when he has to turn and run. His Pro Day numbers showed above average 40, bench and vertical jumps, but his shuttle and cone weren’t as good, which confirms the observation on tape about the tightness in the hips. Overall, I like the way he plays the game. He will fit an NFL team who use their D-Line to keep the LBs clean, but he can certainly star on special teams, where his ability to get through trash should see him be effective.
Coach Davie has done a great job with the team. How has it been to play for him?
Coach Davie has done a great job in bringing Lobo Football back to where it should be. He has instilled a sense of discipline within the team. With his many years of coaching he has been able to really understand what works and what doesn’t, and I think that has only benefitted him while coaching at New Mexico. He has been a great coach to play for for the sole fact that he cares about a player as a person and an athlete. He not only tries to better you on the field but he wants to prepare his players for life after football. It’s been great playing for Coach Davie because he is a coach that gave me an opportunity to play Division 1 football when many other coaches didn’t, and I will always be extremely grateful for that.
Your team mate Markel Byrd died in a car accident in December 2015. How did you personally and the team get through that tragedy?
When we lost Markel in December of 2015 just a few days after the bowl game, it hit the team very hard. Markel was not only a great player but a great friend to many. Markel had a huge impact on the team and I think that is why his loss was so hard for many. One thing I do believe is that due to his passing, it pulled the team closer together more than ever. We came to realize how blessed we are to be able to play next to our teammates, our brothers, every day. The brotherhood between everyone grew to be very strong and that is how we were able to get through it all.
You finished your college career with a Bowl game win. How much did that mean to you?
Winning a bowl game my senior year meant so much to not only myself, but every other senior that stuck through all the hard times to get to where we are now. We all put in so much work to get to a winning season and win a bowl game, it was a goal that was on everyone’s mind ever since we started playing for UNM. Winning a bowl game not only meant a lot for all of us but it meant so much to the community surrounding Lobo Football. Going out on with a bowl win felt so great due to the fact that we all knew that all the hard work put in finally paid off.
You played in an interesting, and attacking defense, has that experience helped in terms of talking with NFL teams?
The defense that I played in really helped me become a great overall player. The attacking defense we played allowed me to be a better blitzing linebacker. I think that teams can look at me as an all around Linebacker due to the fact that I can blitz as well as drop back in coverage.
Take us inside your Pro Day a little. You do the 40 etc. but how much time did you spend meeting with teams and what sort of interest was there in you?
I was very happy with my pro day. I ran the fastest 40 I have ever ran at a 4.62 and I jumped my highest vertical I ever have at 33.5”. Unfortunately the scouts that attended pro day didn’t do any Linebacker drills for me to showcase where I excel the most at, so I wasn’t able to showcase my skills in position drills like I would have. With that being said, they did do a few Defensive Back drills and because I didn’t get to do Linebacker drills I decided to jump in do some of the DB drills, which helped me showcase the pass coverage I have been working on.
You’ve played against some great players in your college career – who would you say was the best?
I think there are two guys that stand out to me. Derek Carr and Jay Ajayi. I had the opportunity to play against Carr my freshman year when he was at Fresno State. He was a guy that made a lot of people look bad that day with his amazing throwing arm and surprising speed. Ajayi was a Running Back that I got to play against many times and he impressed me every time. He is a guy that has the power and the speed and it has allowed him to be successful in the NFL.
Two of the games I watched of you were Boise State and Wyoming. Jeremy McNichols and Brian Hill are different types of back, but who would you say was the best?
I believe that Jeremy McNichols is probably the better overall back. He was a guy that was strong but also quick. The many things he could do with the ball is what makes him a dangerous player.
What would say is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is the effort I give every time I step onto the football field. I pride myself on playing 100 miles per hour all the time and flying to the ball playing whistle to whistle. I also believe that my football IQ is what separates me from many other linebackers.
Do you have any preference in terms of the type of scheme you would prefer to play in at the next level?
I am a guy that just loves to play football. I really don’t have any preference, I just want to be in the best spot possible to help my team win football games and make the biggest possible contribution.
I’m British – we used to have the World League of American Football which turned into NFL Europe over here. Do you wish there was an NFL developmental league?
I do wish that there was an NFL Developmental League. I believe that it would help so many athletes in many different ways. Every other professional sport has a developmental league and you can see the benefits of guys that play in that league then get called up. I think it could help you grow as an athlete and I think it would be a great addition to the NFL.
How much would playing in the NFL mean to you?
Playing in the NFL is something I have dreamed of since I was a little kid. Getting the opportunity to play the sport I love professionally would be something of a dream come true. It would mean being able to follow in the footsteps as my Dad when he got the opportunity to play for the LA Rams in 1987. It would truly be a blessing to get the chance to play in the NFL and it would be a great feeling knowing that all my blood, sweat, and tears that I have put into the sport have paid off.
What one thing about you would you like NFL scouts to know about you as a person?
I am a football player that takes care of business on and off the field. I have a Finance degree that I completed in three years and a year of my Masters in Sports Administration done as well. I did this all while leading the team in tackles four years in a row and succeeding on the field in many ways. I think that this shows the commitment and discipline that is needed to excel on on any team in the NFL. I am very coachable and love the game of football. I am a Linebacker with a good football IQ and I believe that knowledge combined with the effort I give every time I’m on the field separates me from other Linebackers. I believe that I can be a great contribution to any team in the NFL.