Ross Cockrell can improve his draft stock with fast 40 time

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Duke has had just one player drafted since 2004 and only 11 since 1990. Cornerback Ross Cockrell should change those numbers.

Cockrell (6-foot, 180 pounds) was one of Duke's best defenders the past few seasons and a key performer on a Blue Devils team that went 10-4 this season.

Cockrell doesn't necessarily stand out in any facet of the game, but he does a lot of things well, which should lead to him being a third-day pick in the 2014 draft. Speed has been a question, but Cockrell told The Chronicle -- Duke's student newspaper -- that he believes he can run a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash at the combine next month.

Cockrell played in the East-West Shrine Game earlier this month and had an interception late in the game.

He has been training in California since the end of the season.

"I'm working on total body strength and just making sure that I'm as healthy as possible going into the combine," Cockrell told The Chronicle. "Those are the two things that I really want to accomplish."

Cockrell started all but one game in his Duke career and finished with 12 interceptions and a school-record 41 pass breakups. He was a two-time first-team All-ACC selection. Cockrell played this season as a grad student after graduating in May 2013 with a political science degree.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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