Ross Cockrell didn’t have to wait long on Saturday for his phone to ring. The former Duke Blue Devil was the ninth pick in the fourth round, being the 109th overall pick. Cockrell was selected by the Buffalo Bills, a franchise who has had hardship both on the field and off the field over the course of the past season and offseason.
“At the East-West Shrine Game, I watched his ball skill,” said Mike Mayock, NFL Network draft expert. “I also liked his length. The intangibles are off the charts with this kid. He’s smart, tough and instinctive.”
Over Cockrell’s senior season, he had 37 solo tackles, one sack, and three interceptions. Cockrell played on Duke’s best team in school history. In the NFL Combine, Cockrell ran a 4.56 second 40-yard dash and had a 36.5-inch vertical jump.
Duke has another alum on Buffalo’s roster. Thad Lewis suits up as a quarterback for the Bills. Other Blue Devils in the NFL are Patrick Bailey (LB, Titans), Matt Daniels (SAF, Rams), Cooper Helfet (TE, Seahawks), Patrick Mannelly (LS, Bears), Sean Renfree (QB, Falcons), Vincent Rey (MLB, Bengals) and Conner Vernon (WR, Browns).
The Bills have selected players from three conferences, the AAC, the ACC and the SEC. In the first three rounds, the Bills acquired Clemson’s Sammy Watkins (WR) with the fourth overall pick. In the second round with the 44th overall pick, Buffalo selected Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio. In the third round, the Bills landed Louisville’s Preston Brown.
The Bills also acquired Bryce Brown (RB) from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills traded a pick to be able to have Brown on their roster.
As things stand, Buffalo has three more picks in the draft. So there’s no telling who will suit up alongside Cockrell as a Bill.
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