Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke (HT: 6’0”; WT: 191 lbs)
Fourth Round: 109th Pick
NFL Comparison: Greg Toler, CB, Indianapolis Colts
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- Lanky defender with a lot of room to add muscle to his frame if need be.
- Good height, but really plays to his size; doesn't back down to bigger receivers.
- Has a feisty, chippy attitude on the field that is contagious to others.
- Solid athlete who can play in either man or zone coverage without being at a big disadvantage.
- Distance speed is a plus, although zone defenses don’t stress the importance as much.
- Above-average closing burst towards the ball led to many defensed passes. There is potential to become better in this area, and those knockdowns could become turnovers.
- Has a good feel for baiting the quarterback to throw the ball, and uses instincts to jump routes.
- Stays on the hip of receivers well, and uses subtle technique to keep the receiver from catching the ball; there’s a fine line between good technique and being sloppy, and being sloppy leads to penalties.
- Recognizes plays well, then attacks correctly more often than not.
- Faced many pro-style offenses in the ACC, which could lower the difficulty of transition between college football and the NFL.
- Good hip fluidity helps versatility projection at the next level. He isn’t limited to zone due to poor hips.
- Able to mirror receivers and save movement by not falling for head fakes or false steps.
- Despite fitting the profile of a zone cornerback, he struggled the most in Cover 3, where he would often stay too strict to his zone and allow nearby seam receivers to catch chunk passes.
- Will likely draw his share of penalties while in coverage. He grabs and holds over the middle when his lack of lateral explosion is vulnerable.
- He’s not a great athlete; features good physical attributes but doesn’t have that extra explosion that top prospects have.
- Doesn’t provide much in run defense, as the receiver often washes him out of the play. He doesn’t maintain lane integrity or dictate where the runner goes.
- Will keep his eyes off of the ball and locked onto the receiver when he transitions to run deep with a receiver. This leads to easier jump balls for the target and less turnover chances.
- Was ranked as the 76th best cornerback coming out of high school.
- Father Keith Cockrell played football at Columbia University.
- Already graduated from Duke University with a degree in political science, and is currently pursuing a masters degree in political science.
Cockrell didn’t come from a big-time, powerhouse team, but he held his own without much help against some of the nations’ top receivers. Being able to play in any coverage scheme, Cockrell could develop into a reliable starting cornerback in time. His technique against defending the run will need significant development, but his effort is there, and that’s half the battle.
Draft Projection: Third Round
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