Draft Buzz: Cook drawing interest

In the upcoming Scout.com-wide mock draft, the BFR has Buffalo taking tight end Jared Cook. Get the latest on Cook, Mike Mickens and Jason Watkins in Ed Thompson's latest draft update...

According to a source, University of Cincinnati cornerback Mike Mickens was on the Miami Dolphins' schedule last week for a March 16 workout with defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. He's also scheduled for a workout this week with the St. Louis Rams on March 28 and has an official visit lined up with the Philadelphia Eagles on April 6–7.

Like many college students,  Mickens watches plenty of movies. But the ones he really enjoys watching are the game films because he's learned how much that extra time in the film room enhances his performance on the field.

"You know where the plays are going, you know what's coming," he told Scout.com prior to the NFL Scouting Combine. "It gives me the ability to get to the run faster than most people because I watch a lot of film."

As a four-year starter, Mickens earned All-Big East Conference honors every year and was an All-American in 2008. But despite the personal accolades, he's most proud of what the Bearcats accomplished as a team.

"I'm most proud of winning the Big East this year," he said. "I mean, just playing with my teammates, working with a great coaching staff that got us over the hump and got us winning games. And the fan support there was just terrific."

As he's been preparing to enter the pro ranks, Mickens has kept a close eye on two NFL cornerbacks that he hopes to pattern his game after in the coming years.

"Asante Samuel, he makes a lot of picks and big plays. And Champ Bailey," he said. "Those two guys are really good at the position."

South Carolina tight end Jared Cook told Scout.com that he had 22 formal interviews at the NFL Combine. The Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks were just a few of those teams.

South Carolina TE Jared Cook
AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Cook has made quite a name for himself as a tight end. But the 6-foot-5, 246-pound player was originally a wide receiver for the Gamecocks until his sophomore year.

"At first, Coach Spurrier came to me with the idea and I told him I'd do anything to help the team. So he was cool with it and I was cool with it," Cook explained during an exclusive interview with Scout.com. "At first, I wasn't really required to block, so I was pretty much a receiving tight end.  This past year was my first time actually learning how to block from Coach Rychleski, he taught me pretty much everything I needed to know.

"The hardest part from the transition was picking up the blocking on the big D-ends and linebackers. But as the starting tight end, I had to become a complete player."

Off the field, Cook is a self-described "homebody" who doesn't go out much.

 "I just like to chill and relax really. I don't do too much going out. I think that's the best way to live," he said. "I like to watch movies and like going to them, too. Sometimes I cook—chicken alfredo, shrimp alfredo, shrimp scampi or chicken scampi with noodles and the whole works."

Cook is currently rated as the No. 2 tight end in this year's draft class in Scout.com's NFL Draft Rankings.

Florida offensive tackle Jason Watkins was another player in high demand at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month. He had more than 20 formal interviews with NFL team officials, including the Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins.

Not bad for a guy who hadn't even thought about playing football until his junior year in high school.

"I grew up playing basketball. That was the sport I always played," he said during a recent interview. "When I moved to Florida, the football coach wanted me to try out and I thought I'd give it a try. So I tried it and I loved playing it."

When it came time for Watkins to head to college, he was recruited by Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn, Florida and Michigan State.

"It just felt right when I came here. I prayed on it, I talked to them all, but I think I moved to Florida for a reason," he said. "When I was younger, I didn't know what it was, but I guess I see now that God has a plan for me. Since I moved to Florida, everything just felt so right, so that's why I chose Florida."

Out of all of the formal interviews that Watkins had during the Combine, his one with the Steelers was one of the most memorable because it gave him the opportunity talk with Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin.

"I was pretty much speechless because they just won the Super Bowl. When I walked into the meeting room, he was the first person who greeted me," he said. "I was like, 'man' and after that I was telling everyone in the hotel 'I met Coach Tomlin in there!' I think that was the highlight of my night and I was very honored."

Watkins, a 6-foot-6, 318-pound offensive tackle, started 29 games for the Gators, including two at tight end. He was a team captain during his senior year while Florida won their eighth SEC Championship and their second BCS National Title in three years.

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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter for NFL updates and insights. And you can contact him by email through this link.

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