BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino
The Buffalo Bills added to their secondary depth by utilizing their fourth round selection on Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell. Adding to the defensive backfield was a priority for the Bills after having six of their 29 pre-draft visitors being secondary players. Cockrell makes it four for four in terms of Bills selections that were also pre-draft visitors.
A four-year starter in the ACC, Cockrell had a productive career for the Blue Devils. His best trait is his ability to break on the football as evidenced by his 12 career interceptions and 50 career pass breakups.
At 6′ and 191 pounds, Cockrell fits the description of a “big corner” that is coveted in today’s NFL. He projects as an outside corner with the potential to move to safety. His size allows for more versatility in the Bills nickle packages for matchups that may not be as favorable to Nickell Robey’s lack of height.
Cockrell has excellent coverage instincts and anticipates routes well. He has matched up well with terrific receivers in the ACC over the past four seasons.
BBD Editor Dan Hope had this to say regarding Cockrell’s skill set after he visited the Bills:
“Perhaps the most under-appreciated player in a deep draft class of cornerbacks, Cockrell is another skilled, fluid defensive back whose on-field play stands out more than his physical tools. He has clean footwork, fluid hips and is very good at making plays on the ball in the air. Despite having limited strength, Cockrell shows no hesitance in playing with physicality, and he was able to shut down some of the best receivers he went up against in college, including potential Bills early-round draft picks Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin.”