DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Cockrell was the 109th overall pick in the draft.
“What a terrific day for Ross – we could not be happier for him and his entire family,” said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. “The Bills are getting a young man of great integrity who will undoubtedly be an asset within their organization. On the field, he’s competed at the highest level with a great deal of success. And without question, Ross is one of the finest – if not the finest – peer leaders I’ve ever been around.”
In 2013, Cockrell led the Blue Devils to a school single-season record 10 wins, the ACC’s Coastal Division championship, a berth in the Dr Pepper ACC Championship game and an appearance in the 46th annual Chick-fil-A Bowl. Serving as a team captain for the second straight year, Cockrell registered 46 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 quarterback sack, three interceptions, one caused fumble and 13 pass breakups en route to earning first team All-ACC honors for the second consecutive season.
As a junior in 2013, Cockrell was an honorable mention All-America selection by Sports Illustrated after carding 71 tackles and an ACC-leading five interceptions while guiding Duke to the program’s first bowl game since 1994.
In a 49-game career at Duke, Cockrell posted 233 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 quarterback sacks, 12 interceptions, two caused fumbles and 42 pass breakups. On Duke’s all-time charts, he finished his career ranking first in total passes defended (54), first in pass breakups and sixth in interceptions.
A native of Waxhaw, N.C., Cockrell also was recognized for his academic success while at Duke. He became one of just 17 players in ACC football history to be named to the Academic All-ACC team four times. In addition, he was a two-time Capital One Academic All-District III choice in 2012 and 2013 and was named to the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s Hampshire Honor Society.
The highest Blue Devil draft pick since Lennie Friedman was a second round choice of the Denver Broncos in 1999, Cockrell is the first Duke player to be selected by the Bills since Clarkston Hines was a ninth round pick in 1990. Cockrell is the first Blue Devil defensive back to be chosen in the NFL Draft since Ray Farmer, who currently serves as the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, was a fourth round choice of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996.
Cockrell joins former Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis with the Bills. In 2013, Lewis played in six games with five starting assignments and completed 93-of-157 (.592) passes for 1,092 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing 24 times for 52 yards and one touchdown.
The selection of Cockrell gives Duke draft selections in consecutive years for the first time since 1999-2000. Quarterback Sean Renfree was a seventh round choice of the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.