Cook, a 6-foot-7, 324-pound behemoth in the middle, has put little touted New Mexico on the map. Scouts and players espoused his accolades at the Senior Bowl, as well as those around the Mountain West Conference (MWC).
Ryan Cook, Center New Mexico Lobos
His mission is to get himself ready for the Draft where a prospect of his stature is sure to draw attention. Before that, come the Bowl games and the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Cook has stepped up his commitment by hiring a personal trainer who has him working out with other top prospects.
"It's a pretty intense process, but I think it's a great chance to show what you're capable of doing against the best athletes in the country," Cook said in a recent interview with the Albuquerque Tribune. "I've been working on position drills before the bowl game. Afterward, I'll come back to work on different skills I'll need for the combine."
Projected as a first-day talent, ranked in the top-5 at his position, Cook brings a strong resume with him to interviews. He earned all MWC conference honors three times, and was a preseason watch list selection for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy (best center).
A walk on as a freshman, Cook was immediately placed in the middle of the Lobo's line. Although he manned the center position during the season, Cook did get some practice time at tackle, and could possibly see more of that in the pros.
"It's new for me, but it's something I'm going to have to stick with and learn and develop the nuances of the game," Cook told his school paper The Daily Lobo.
How would Cook fit into the Patriots line?
With his size, and skills on the interior, Cook could man a couple of positions. Typically the center is responsible for making all the protection calls for the rest of the line, so his experience could come in handy there. Starting center Dan Koppen is expected to make a full recovery from a separated shoulder, so he's looking at a backup position there, unless Koppen suffers a setback. Should Cook fill in for one of the other linemen, it's possible he could move to any other spot on the line, but most likely at tackle where the Patriots had trouble due to injury.
An invitee to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February, Cook will get another chance to meet, greet and show his stuff off for coaches and scouts once again. New Mexico's pro timing day for draft eligible players will be February 21st, a few short days ahead of his appearance at The Combine.
Cook is one of two centers the Patriots met with in Mobile. The other will appear in an article to be published this week.