The Buffalo Bills have one of the best starting cornerback duos in the NFL in Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin, but adding more depth at the position was a wise course of action for the Bills organization on day three. Doug Whaley and the front office decided to yank Duke Blue Devils cornerback Ross Cockrell with the ninth pick in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and it will be interesting to see how much of an impact Cockrell has as a rookie in the Bills secondary.
Cockrell has impressive speed in the mid-to-high 4.4s, and he’s an athletic and fluid cornerback with plenty of ball skills. He is one of the more athletic cornerbacks in the draft class, and a fourth-round pick is the right price to pay for a 6’0″, 191-pound cornerback who should be able to solidify the Bills secondary when he’s on the field.
Versatility is key in today’s NFL, and Cockrell displays versatility by playing in the slot or on the outside. I actually like him more on the outside, because he can play much more zone coverage and use his ballhawking skills to get interceptions. He isn’t as physical as most slot corners, but he is at least as quick as those guys. I see Cockrell as the sort of corner who can beat finesse corners, and he has the kind of speed that makes it difficult for wideouts to burn him downfield, unless if he decides to gamble for a pick.