NFL Mock Draft 2012: The St. Louis Rams' Fletcher Cox Rationale

He can't match up, for St. Louis Rams ubiquity in the average 2012 NFL Mock Draft, to Justin Blackmon, but DT Fletcher Cox, the top interior lineman in the draft, has been a popular choice at No. 6 for several weeks now. Here's why the mock draft favorite would make sense here—why it might happen.

For one thing: The Rams, prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, dumped all their veteran defensive lineman for salary cap reasons. Fred Robbins, an aging star of that surprisingly stout 2010 defense, is out; Scotty Wells is in, for now, but the Rams lack depth and upside inside the defensive ends, where Chris Long and Robert Quinn lurk. If Cox joined those two emerging stars, the Rams would find themselves with an argument for employing the best young defensive line in football.

I'm not sure that's worth passing on a wide receiver who might keep Sam Bradford on his feet through a rough development in a new offense, but it could definitely happen—and the Rams' conscious rebuilding of their defensive line is the reason we can be so sure.

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