Old Dominion is far from the kind of football factory that many NFL stars come from. Los Angeles Chargers undrafted rookie running back Jeremy Cox played his college ball there.
The most notable NFL player to ever come out of Old Dominion would be quarterback Taylor Heinicke, and he was also undrafted.
Cox is one of the few players the Chargers grabbed at any of the skill positions on offense as an undrafted free agent, but Cox came to the right place to make the roster as an undrafted running back.
The Chargers have a penchant for finding late-round or undrafted running backs who go on to become big contributors to the team.
Austin Ekeler was an undrafted player in 2017 and last season, seventh-round pick Justin Jackson and undrafted free agent Detrez Newsome both played well when they had the opportunity. Cox will be in a similar position, but he’s a completely different back.
At 6-feet tall and weighing in at 235 pounds, Cox is a physical, straight-ahead runner. Though he weighs 235 pounds, he moves like a much quicker running back. Physically, he will remind Chargers fans of the bowling ball, Mike Tolbert, but he is a lot faster than him.
As you would expect with a player of his physical stature, he invites contact and is rarely brought down by the first tackler.
At ODU, he registered 442 carries for 2,175 yards in his career, adding 23 touchdowns. But he was also a solid receiver out of the backfield, catching 75 passes for 532 yards. At the next level, he could provide a great change-of-pace back as well as a short-yardage guy.
Unfortunately, he will be behind all of those players mentioned earlier on the depth chart.
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Chance to make final roster (1-10 scale): 3.5
I am really excited to see this kid perform this summer, but Ekeler and Jackson have become players the team can rely on and Newsome had an excellent preseason last year and will be difficult to unseat.
Cox brings something that none of those players do in terms of a power rusher. The fact that he can catch the ball coming out of the backfield is an added bonus.
The Chargers could also see what he can do at the fullback spot, but he would have an even more difficult time unseating Derek Watt there.
Will the Chargers keep four backs on the active roster? If they do, Cox will battle Newsome for that fourth spot in what I would call a coin flip at this particular time. If they only keep three, he will obviously be on the outside looking in barring a major injury, but he should be part of the team’s practice squad due to his potential as an offensive weapon.