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Ross Cockrell NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Buffalo Bills CB

Duke defender Ross Cockrell (6) intercepts the ball in the end zone against Virginia Tech's Trey Edmonds (14) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)
Don Petersen/Associated Press
Ian WhartonContributor IMarch 3, 2014

Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke (HT: 6’0”; WT: 191 lbs)

Buffalo Bills

Fourth Round: 109th Pick

NFL Comparison: Greg Toler, CB, Indianapolis Colts

Combine Weigh In
HeightWeightArmHand
600019129 7/8"9"
NFL.com
Combine Results
40-yard dash10-yard splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle
4.43N/A36.5"10' 2"7.284.32
NFL.com

 

Positives

  • 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.

 

Negatives

  • 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.
Collegiate Statistics
YearTeamTacklesPDINT
2010Duke60103
2011Duke56101
2012Duke71185
2013Duke46123
http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/ross-cockrell-1.html

 

Personal Notes

  • 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.

 

Ratings Chart

Graph made by http://nces.ed.gov

Overall

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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