DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell, a four-year starter who ended his career as the program's all-time leader in passes defended and pass breakups, is in line to become the first Duke defenisve player drafted since defensive lineman Shawn Johnson in 2004.
Cockrell, who was also a two-year team captain and two-time All-ACC first team pick, was invited to participate in the NFL Combine and has visited multiple NFL teams in recent months. A 6-0, 190-pound native of Waxhaw, N.C., has posted impressive numbers both at the combine and Duke's pro day, clocking a 40 time under 4.4 seconds, a vertical jump of 39 inches and 12 repititions of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Coupled with his physical talents, Cockrell was among the top defensive backs in the ACC as a redshirt junior and senior, leading the ACC with 0.33 interceptions per game in 2012 and ranking among the top five in the league in pass breakups and passes defended in 2013. His performance helped propel the Blue Devils to a school-record 10 wins in 2013 along with the ACC Coastal Division title and a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve.
The NFL Draft takes place May 8-10. If Cockrell is taken, it will be on the heels of quarterback Sean Renfree's seventh-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons in 2013 and give Duke draft picks in back-to-back years for the first time since 1998 and 1999.