The Bills took Ross Cockrell, a cornerback from Duke, with their fourth-round pick this afternoon. Cockrell was a captain at Duke, an all-academic ACC pick who graduated in three and a half years. His father was a wide receiver at Columbia. So he's smart. Even more important to the Bills, he's a winner.
"Every guy we've taken so far has been part of a winning program," said Jim Monos, the Bills' director of player personnel. "That's a big thing we're stressing."
Evidently. Here's a review of the Bills' first four picks and the record of their college teams last season. 1. Sammy Watkins, Clemson (11-2); 2. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (11-2); 3. Preston Brown, Louisville (12-1); 4. Ross Cockrell, Duke (10-4).
That's a combined record of 44-9 for the first four picks in their last college season. I'm not sure how that will translate, but it helps to have players who are used to winning at a high level and have come to expect it. As we know, the Bills expect to make the playoffs in 2014 and pick low in the first round of next year's draft.
Cockrell, a political science major, got his undergraduate degree from Duke in December, 2012. He studied in the Masters program in political science at Duke last year. He played against Watkins last season.
"Sammy Watkins is a tremendous player," Cockrell said. "You know, somebody who has all the tools to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player. Even some of the guys that play at Florida State and UNC and some of those bigger names, I think it really prepared me to go to this next level."
Cockrell played one season at Duke with quarterback Thad Lewis, the Bills' backup. Cockrell said he worked out with Lewis some the last few months at Duke. Lewis has said knew Cockrell was a talent when he intercepted him once in practice as a freshman.
"Yeah, I got him once or twice," Cockrell said. "Maybe he would only admit to one, but I think I got him a couple more times."