Dakota Cox definitely made his mark at New Mexico over the last four years.
The former Lobos linebacker started 43 of the 46 games he played in. He finished his career with 403 tackles, which ranks sixth in school history and third in the Mountain West.
Cox also was able to help rebuild the Lobos’ football program. The team finished with a 4-9 record the year before he got there.
“Coming here in 2013, the team wasn’t really where it needed to be,” Cox said. “Coming in, I knew I could help get it to the level where it should be and kind of put the Lobos back on the map.”
By the end of his career, he was able to help the Lobos to back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016. The team also played in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in both of those winning seasons, losing the first year and winning the second. Cox said playing with his New Mexico teammates was an awesome experience.
“I’ve made plenty of awesome friendships, just really kind of a brotherhood around here,” Cox said. “Guys I know are going to be friends for life.”
Before 2015, the last time the Lobos finished with a winning season was 1997 when another stud linebacker, Brian Urlacher, was on the team. Urlacher was one of the guys Cox admired growing up.
“Brian Urlacher was one of the first I watched play,” Cox said. “He was a guy I watched growing up pretty heavily because I wanted to be a linebacker just like him.”
Urlacher and Cox were definitely standouts in college. One thing that does separate them is size. Urlacher stands 6-foot-4, 258 pounds while Cox stands 6-foot and 229 pounds. Cox is considered undersized for a linebacker, but he said his film proves his size should not be a concern.
“If you watch my film, I’m a guy that plays hard all the time,” Cox said. “I bring 100 percent effort everytime I’m on the field and try to bring that intensity. I do think I play much bigger than I actually am. That is kind of what I take pride in.”
Cox has not talked to any teams personally, but a few have contacted his coaching staff to see how he has progressed. Cox has been training at New Mexico with the strength coaches and had a great pro day. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and put up 20 reps on the bench press. Since then he has been doing more football specific workouts to get bigger, faster and stronger for the NFL.
Cox believes one of the biggest things he can provide an NFL team is his experience.
“I bring a different aspect to the linebacker position,” Cox said. “Just being knowledgable of the game. I definitely have a good football I.Q., which I take pride in.”
Cox believes his film and stats speak for themselves and that no team would regret giving him a chance.
“If I can get the opportunity to play on a team I definitely think that no one would regret signing me,” Cox said. “I definitely think I can be a great contribution to any team.”
DAKOTA COX SCOUTING REPORT
Dakota Cox has adequate size standing just under six feet tall and weighing 226 pounds, but plays bigger than that. Cox is one of the most experienced linebackers in the draft class, leading the New Mexico Lobos in tackles for all four of his seasons. He displays his good football IQ on the field every game.
When the ball is snapped, Cox recognizes plays well and has a quick first step. He has adequate speed for a linebacker and ran a 4.62 40 yard dash at his pro day. He is good at shedding or dodging blockers and get to the ball carrier on running plays. Once he reaches the ball carrier, he tackles well and almost always makes the play, if he can reach it.
He is good at zone coverage and has a lot of experience playing zone at New Mexico. For him to be a good NFL linebacker, he will have to prove he can cover better in man to man coverage and stay on the field for all three downs.
Cox’s best asset is tackling and nose for the ball. He seemingly always comes up with tackles and stops big plays before they happen.
For Cox to make it at the next level he will have to use his great tackling abilities on special teams. With his skill of dodging and shedding blockers, he can use that on the punt and kick coverage teams and eventually earn more playing time at linebacker. He is a player that could make the Pro Bowl as a special teamer.
Watch Dakota Cox’s career highlights here.
You can listen to Josh Burris interview Dakota Cox in its entirety below.
Josh Burris contributed the story portion of this article. Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.
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