2012 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft: Round 1, Pick 9

Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox does footwork drills during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The SB Nation two-round NFL mock draft continues along with each lead NFL team blogger making the pick for their team. Up now is the Carolina Panthers with the No. 9 overall pick.

With the ninth pick in the 2012 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, the Carolina Panthers select Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

Jaxon of Cat Scratch Reader breaks down the choice and I respond after the jump. For more on the Panthers, follow along at CatScratchReader.com.

Jaxon explains: There is no question the Panthers will look to bolster the defense with this draft and that starts up front at DT where the Panthers were terrible at stopping the run last year. Though the Panthers would prefer an elite pass rusher like Quinton Coples with Coples off the board instead they take Fletcher Cox as the best DT in the draft. In spite of Dontari Poe getting all the hype from the combine, Cox was just as impressive and is a better fit for the Panthers' scheme.

Cox can play anywhere along the 4-3 front line, plays with a relentless motor and is the best DT in this draft getting off his blocks and making plays against the run and pass. Cox played against top-flight competition and is a strong, agile and athletic DT who can make plays in the backfield and might end up the best interior pass rusher in this draft. Another big plus is no one questions his effort and he enters the NFL as a high character guy with no red flags

Dan Kadar responds: Cox is indeed a good scheme fit for the Panthers. Carolina needs a tackle who can generate pressure and slip through blocks. That's Cox' specialty. Although by no means is he a corner bending speed rusher, he could even be used at end in certain situations. But if Carolina wants to solely keep him at tackle, Cox may have to add more power in his base and learn how to play with a better pad level.

Mocking the Draft's Top 5 Remaining Prospects

OVR Name Pos. College Report
7 Dre Kirkpatrick
CB Alabama scouting report
8 Courtney Upshaw
OLB Alabama scouting report
9 David DeCastro
G Stanford
scouting report
10 Jonathan Martin
OT Stanford scouting report
12 Devon Still
DT Penn State
prospect notes
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