Before They Were Pros: Ryan Cook

Offensive lineman Ryan Cook didn't have an NCAA Division I scholarship waiting for him after high school, but that didn't stop him from excelling at the University of New Mexico and turning himself into an NFL prospect. See what he had to say about his past experiences and future expectations before he was drafted.

On not having people from Division I schools offering him a scholarship coming out of high school: "Eastern New Mexico, which is a small school in New Mexico, offered me a scholarship, but I always wanted to play Division I football and that's something I had the opportunity to do."

On how that can happen for a guy who ends up in the NFL: "I don't know how to explain it. It's just hard work, dedication and desire to know that I wanted to play college football at the Division I level and coming in and producing."

On how his Combine experience was going: "It's been good. Going to the Senior Bowl was an experience coming out of the Mountain West Conference and seeing the different level of competition – a better level. Coming here, there are other guys from big-name schools and I think I'm competing pretty well."

On which teams did he talked with at the Senior Bowl: "A bunch of different teams – the Falcons, Patriots, Jaguars, Texans, Dolphins."

On which week, the Senior Bowl or Combine, is more important to NFL prospects: "I think the Senior Bowl is a little more important because it's based more on football, the reality of the situation. That's what it all really boils down to. (The Combine) is also important in many facets."

On which environment is better to showcase skills: "This just tests your measurables and how you move in space. But it comes down to the film that you produced over the last few years and how you played in those games."

On scouts offering suggestions: "They've asked me what I think I need to work on. They haven't really given me any feedback on that."

On what he needs to work on: "Just pad level. I come from the center position and have a built-in disadvantage being so tall. Playing there, people don't think I could play that position at the next level, but I disagree."

On his measurements: "I was 6-6.5 and 328."

On if it surprised him to be in a position to be in the NFL: "From time to time it does. But as the years progressed and I started to get better – you know I was three-time All-Mountain West – I started progressing and realized that maybe I could push the goals a little bit farther. It does surprise me that I'm here now, and it's a great honor. I'm glad that I'm here now."

On when he figured he belonged: "After my first year of receiving All-Mountain West honors I figured people thought that highly of me. That was something where the peers and the coaches and the media thought that I was worthy. After that, I just kept going from there."

On when he started thinking about the NFL: "Probably not until last year. I tried not to focus on that too much. I try to just focus on the season at hand, have a good junior campaign and then a good senior campaign. I figured all this stuff would take care of itself. You've got to get here and then prove yourself again."

On if he was surprised when scouts started showing up on campus: "I don't know. I just always tried to play with a chip on my shoulder, something I could use to my favor and keep me going."

On if he felt he had something to prove: "Every day. You go out there and prove you're worth the scholarship they gave you. I wasn't good enough for you the first time, but I'm here every day showing you I'm productive and go out and execute everything at a high level."

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