When the Pittsburgh Steelers were going through the motions of finalizing their 53-man roster, there was a transaction made which might have gone under the radar. With the release of Kevin Fogg and B.W. Webb, the team acquired cornerback Ross Cockrell to their roster.
Cockrell is a 6-foot, 190-pound cornerback who was drafted in the fourth by the Buffalo Bills in 2014 from Duke. He appeared in seven games in his rookie season, playing only 11 snaps as a rookie, but Mike Tomlin stated the team has kept an eye on him since he was released by the Bills in their first round of cuts.
Per Cockrell's NFL.com draft profile, his strengths are that he plays smart and has a good feel for the game -- eyes, anticipation and awarenesss. Plays with discipline and takes a consistent approach. Good route recognition. Lines up in the slot and is quick and agile enough to handle dynamic receivers. Sorts through route combinations and maintains positioning. Good leaping ability -- competes for the ball in the air. Has jammer experience on special teams.
His weaknesses include the fact he has small hands, short arms and a thin frame, especially in the lower body. Limited press strength to match up against bigger receivers. Often plays to the boundary. Has some tightness in his hips that shows re-directing -- allows separation at the break point. Does not step up and take on blocks and overall game lacks physicality.
Look for Cockrell to compete in the back end of the Steelers' secondary with Doran Grant as a special teams player and a spot player in the case of injury.