The New England Patriots signed veteran cornerback Derek Cox on Monday, as this marks the fifth NFL team Cox has been with since entering the NFL as a third-round draft choice in 2009 out of William & Mary.
My NFL Nation teammates covering each team provide insight at each of Cox's stops:
"I’ll preface this by saying it’s been four years since I’ve covered Cox, and people change over time. But Cox had an interesting situation in Jacksonville. He had a solid rookie season and then was the starter in his second year. In the Jaguars’ season-opener against the Denver Broncos, Cox gave up several explosive plays and was benched. The coaching staff at the time felt that Cox needed time to regain his confidence, so they kept him out of the starting lineup for three games in which the Jaguars faced quarterbacks Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning. Against Buffalo in Week 4, the player who replaced Cox in the starting lineup made a critical error and Cox won his job back. It was a very strange situation, and Cox told me at the time he disagreed with the perception that his confidence needed work. The staff felt that way, though, because of Cox’s cerebral nature. They worried he would think too much about his mistakes. What I remember about Cox is that he was a very hard worker, and he was someone who didn’t like to be defined by his profession as an NFL player." -- Tania Ganguli (NFL Nation Texans reporter, former Jaguars reporter for the Florida Times-Union)
"Cox signed a four-year, $20 million deal in 2013, Tom Telesco’s first splurge in free agency as general manager of the San Diego Chargers. It did not go well for Cox, who started in 11 games and was eventually replaced by Richard Marshall due to poor play. The Chargers cut him during the offseason in 2014, taking a $4 million cap hit. Cox is smart, a hard worker and will pick up schemes quickly. But he does not play with anticipation and has average closing speed. Further, Cox did not make enough plays at the moment of truth when corners have to make a play with the ball in the air. He has good size and was better in off coverage than press coverage at the line of scrimmage." -- Eric Williams, NFL Nation Chargers reporter
Vikings (March to August, 2014)
"When the Vikings signed Cox early in the free-agency period last year, I thought he had a chance to be a nice pickup. The Vikings were thin in the secondary, and Cox had the size (6-1, 195) to be a good fit in Mike Zimmer's defense. He talked in the spring about how much better he felt in the Vikings' system, after falling out of favor in San Diego because of a scheme change that had him traveling across the field with receivers -- who could essentially turn him into a slot cornerback if they moved inside -- and Zimmer seemed happy with Cox's instincts and size in the spring. He never showed enough consistency to climb the Vikings' depth chart, though, and he was among the Vikings' first training camp cuts last August. As well as he seemed to fit in the Vikings' scheme, I was surprised he didn't stick around here. But it's also telling that a team who needed cornerback help as much as the Vikings did last year would cut Cox that early in camp." -- Ben Goessling, NFL Nation Vikings reporter
Ravens (4 days in August/2014 and then 5 days in September/2015)
"The Ravens signed him because they wanted more experience at corner. They cut him in final major cutdown only to bring him back at the start of the Week 1 practice. Then, with only three other healthy corners, the Ravens cut him the day before the season opener. The thought was the Ravens didn't want to guarantee his minimum deal. But they never brought him back even though Lardarius Webb wasn't at full strength until Week 5. During the season, Ravens preferred to sign Dominique Franks, Danny Gorrer, Antoine Cason and Rashaan Melvin over bringing back Cox. Never really got to see him practice because it was after training camp." -- Jamison Hensley, NFL Nation Ravens reporter