The Bills rookie mini-camp is just two days away and the team is already getting their draftees signed and ready to go. One of those is fourth round pick Ross Cockrell, a cornerback from Duke. Cockrell graduated early and is on his way to getting his Masters in Political Science. Even with other avenues open to him, the NFL is where he wants to be.
“The NFL is my lifelong dream. It’s been something I’ve been pursuing my whole life. Academics, that part came and I did that as long as football was around. Football is here now and this is my job. This is what I want to do.”
Now here with the team, Cockrell is excited to work with the group of defensive backs already on the Bills roster and learn from Defensive Back Coach Donnie Henderson.
“He knows football in and out. He’s been coaching for thirty plus years. He’s a player’s coach. He’s going to allow you to play well as long as you’re making plays.”
The Bills admitted with this year’s draft class that they wanted to bring in players that came from a winning program. Cockrell has won plenty during his 49-game stint with the Blue Devils, helping them to their first 10-win season in school history this past year.
“If you’re used to winning in college, you know what it takes and how to win. I think that’s what they’re trying to do here and we’re trying to have winning seasons here.”
We were also joined by Cleveland Browns Senior Editor Vic Carucci. The Bills made the trade with Cleveland to move up in the draft and get wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The Browns in return got the Bills 2015 first round draft pick. Carucci described the trade from a Cleveland Brown perspective.
“In Cleveland they were extremely happy. To come away with your franchise quarterback and to hit a clear need at cornerback, which was a Mike Pettine pick all the way. He wanted Justin Gilbert all the way and that was a point of emphasis. So, to get that position addressed with, in their mind, the best corner in the draft and then to be able to move down to do that, get a franchise quarterback, a first round pick, and a fourth round pick next year. That’s one hell of a first night for any team.”
Carucci described the trade as a needed one for the Bills to be able to get a play maker, a difference maker. He referenced other deals the Bills made in the past to bring in such players, specifically in 1987 when Buffalo was involved with a three-way trade that brought the Bills Cornelius Bennett. They had to part ways with a 1000-yard rusher in Greg Bell, 2-first round draft picks, and a second round draft pick.
“It was a rich trade from the Bills perspective. You can easily second guess and say they gave up too much but it’s not too much if the player proves to be everything they obviously think he is. Going back to the Cornelius Bennett trade, I remember Marv Levy when an extra second was added on to the conversation, I remember Marv telling (Bill) Polian we can’t do this. Hold it…for just one guy? The response was, it’s Cornelius Bennett! So, I think it’s fair to say that Doug Whaley and Russ Brandon, when those guys were in the room they looked at each other and said Sammy Watkins. You have to pay a steep price for a difference maker.”
You can listen to the entire John Murphy Show, below:
(Carucci – 5:00, Cockrell – 29:51)
Posted in Inside the Bills