The Carolina Panthers have signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Ross Cockrell and free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy. It marks a homecoming for both players as Cockrell played collegiately at Duke and Searcy at North Carolina. Both players signed two-year contracts with the Panthers.
Searcy is a seven-year NFL veteran who spent the past three seasons (2015-17) with the Tennessee Titans after four seasons (2011-14) with the Buffalo Bills.
In 2017, Searcy played in all 16 games with six starts in 2017. He totaled 27 tackles, one quarterback pressure, one tackle for loss, one interception, two passes defensed and six stops on special teams. He appeared in both postseason contests and notched two tackles and one pass defensed.
In three seasons with the Titans, he appeared in 45 games with 33 starts and totaled 132 tackles. In 2016, Searcy logged a career-high 14 starts at strong safety, tallying 51 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, one fumble recovery and a career-high eight passes defensed.
Buffalo selected Searcy in the fourth round (100th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. His career totals in Buffalo included 23 starts and 62 total games played, 195 tackles, five interceptions and two touchdowns (one interception return, one fumble return). For his career, Searcy has played in 107 regular season games with 56 starts, totaling 323 tackles, 4.5 sacks, eight interceptions, 28 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Cockrell enters his fifth season in the NFL after playing for the New York Giants (2017), Pittsburgh Steelers (2015-16) and Buffalo Bills (2014).
In 2017, Cockrell played in all 16 regular season games with nine starts for the Giants, leading the team with 11 passes defensed. He also recorded 49 tackles and tallied a career-high three interceptions, tied for the most on the team.
Originally drafted in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 2014 Draft out of Duke, Cockrell has played in 53 career games with 31 starts over his four-year career. Since entering the League, he has recorded 153 total tackles, 32 passes defensed and five interceptions.
A native of Waxhaw, N.C., Cockrell attended Charlotte Latin High School. While at Duke (2009-13), Cockrell recorded 233 tackles, 12 interceptions and 42 passes defensed, earning first-team All-ACC honors twice (2012-13).