DT Fletcher Cox has become a pillar on the Eagles’ defense in his rookie season. (US Presswire)

There’s a good chance many of the players in the Eagles' locker room won’t be around next season because Philadelphia is expected to make changes in the coaching staff and on its roster. But there are several players who will be building blocks for the Eagles, and smack in the middle of that, in more ways than one, is rookie DT Fletcher Cox.

Cox was the Eagles’ first-round pick in April and they swung a draft-day deal so they could move up three spots to No. 12 overall and snag the Mississippi State All-American, who was generally considered to be the best defensive tackle in the draft.

But the Eagles were already deep at that position with proven veterans -- Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins -- and solid reserves -- Derek Landri, Cedric Thornton. Cox started training camp at the bottom of the depth chart, and he started the regular season in the same place.

But he became a regular part of the rotation as the season progressed and he began making an impact as he received more and more playing time. Cox was made a starter role four weeks ago and it appears he’ll stay there for a long time to come. Despite limited playing time early in the season, no rookie tackle in the NFL has more sacks (three) or tackles (50) than Cox and only eight defensive tackles in the league have more sacks.

“It’s not always easy being patient, especially if you’re used to having success pretty quickly,’’ Cox said. “I was really fortunate being around guys like Mike [Patterson] and Cullen Jenkins, guys who have been around for a while and understand things certainly better than I do. They told me my time would come, but I had to keep working hard so that when my opportunity did come around, I’d be ready for it.”

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow@CBSEagles.