For the second straight day there was a trio of draft prospects visiting One Bills Drive Thursday. Clemson DB Bashaud Breeland, Duke CB Ross Cockrell and LSU RB Jeremy Hill all met with members of Buffalo's coaching staff.
DB Bashaud Breeland – ClemsonBreeland (6'0" 197) is a versatile defensive back with experience at both safety and cornerback. With 24 starts in his college career, Breeland spent 2013 at cornerback earning second team All-ACC honors. He had 74 tackles, four interceptions, 17 pass breakups to lead the team and two forced fumbles as a senior.
His previous two seasons, Breeland lined up mainly at safety, but an abdominal strain injury cut short his 2012 campaign as he appeared in just 10 games before undergoing groin surgery last December.
After running a 4.62 at the NFL combine he improved on it with a 4.57 and by all accounts shined at the Clemson pro day. It gave pause to some NFL talent evaluators that thought he might only be a fit at safety at the NFL level. Breeland's versatility figures to be coveted with more NFL defenses relying on safeties with man coverage ability.
Breeland's body type resembles that of Buffalo's Aaron Williams, but the draft prospect needs to add bulk and strength to his frame. The Clemson is said to have solid intangibles including a strong work ethic and focus. He's widely viewed as a day two draft selection.
CB Ross Cockrell – DukeA two-time first team All-ACC performer, Cockrell (6'0" 191) logged eight interceptions over his final two seasons for the Blue Devils and had 12 in his career. He also posted 50 pass breakups in his time at Duke.
A two-time captain on defense, Cockrell organized film study sessions for the defensive backs a few times a week leading up to games. It helped propel Duke to the ACC conference title game in 2013.
Cockrell had a good week at the East-West Shrine game in January posting an interception in the waning moments of the all-star game to preserve the victory. He clocked a 4.56 at the NFL combine along with a 36.5-inch vertical leap and a 10'2" broad jump.
An experienced corner, Cockrell has the size to play on the boundary, but NFL talent evaluators are concerned about his straight line speed and being able to run hip to hip with receivers on deep routes.
Cockrell is projected by NFL draft analysts as a day three draft choice.
RB Jeremy Hill – LSUHill (6'1" 233) on the surface appears to have the size that the Bills are looking to add to their offensive backfield at the running back position. Buffalo is looking for a bruiser and the LSU product could fit the bill, but Hill is more than just a masher. The big back displays an impressive jump cut and more elusiveness than one might expect for a ball carrier his size. Hill also displays receiving ability out of the backfield, but has been knocked for his pass protection.
Though part of a rotation in the LSU backfield, Hill still rushed for 1,401 yards on 203 carries to average almost seven yards a tote (6.9) with 16 touchdowns. His production however, is often credited to one of the better offensive lines in the country. Hill also added 18 receptions for 181 yards.
There are some off the field concerns with Hill, who has had a couple of run-ins with the law, but he said he was up front about everything with teams at the NFL combine.
"They've done their homework," said Hill. "They know what's going on. It's up to me to be honest about it and be forthcoming. I let them know everything that happened. I put myself in those situations. I can't really focus on that. All I can do is make the right decisions going forward and put myself in the best position possible."
Hill ran a 4.66 at the combine along with 20 reps on the bench, a 29-inch vertical and a 9'5" broad jump. LSU's pro day is April 9th where Hill is expected to try to shave some tenths off his 40 time. He's forecast as a mid-round pick.