Bills Sophomore Spotlight: CB Ross Cockrell

Buffalo has terrific depth at cornerback. Ross Cockrell's role should increase in 2015, but don't expect him to see more than 100-200 snaps.

"Corners, you can never have too much.”

Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley

Sure, Whaley’s statement came after the 2015 NFL draft, but in his two years of draft as Buffalo’s GM, he’s drafted two cornerbacks. In the 2014 NFL draft, Whaley and the Bills selected Ross Cockrell of Duke in the fourth round.

Before the Bills

At Duke, Cockrell started 48 games in four seasons after redshirting in 2009. Cockrell was a two-time team captain at Duke and First-Team All-ACC in 2012 and 2013. At the end of his career, Cockrell was Duke’s all-time leader in pass breakups (41) and interceptions (12).

What Analysts Said

"At the East-West Shrine Game, I watched his ball skills. I also liked his length. The intangibles are off the charts with this kid. He's smart, tough and instinctive."

-Mike Mayock, NFL.com

“Cockrell is a speedy corner who should fit right in, given the division they play in.”

-Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

2014 Season

Cockrell didn’t see much playing time in 2014. The cornerback played 11 defensive snaps all season according to Pro Football Focus and also played some time on special teams (60 snaps).

The lack of playing time at cornerback spoke to Buffalo’s ability to stay healthy in 2014. Stephon Gilmore missed two games and Leodis McKelvin was out for the final six, but Corey Graham and Nickell Robey played in all 16 games last season. Ron Brooks also played 146 snaps last year in a reserve role.

2015 Outlook

Cockrell’s role with the Bills could be limited in his second season. In the second round of the 2015 NFL draft, Buffalo drafted Ronald Darby of Florida State. The team plans on having Darby contribute in his rookie season and he’ll probably be the main reserve for Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. Nickell Robey should also be a lock to as the team’s slot cornerback.

Corey Graham has been working at safety during OTAs for the Bills, so Cockrell has a chance to be Buffalo’s fifth cornerback in 2015. His main competition will be Ron Brooks. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cockrell win this battle and contribute with 100-200 defensive snaps in 2015.

Cockrell certainly isn’t in the running to start at cornerback this season but he can still get valuable reps throughout the year.

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