Connor Cook believes he can be first quarterback drafted

INDIANAPOLIS -- Connor Cook has plenty to prove this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, but the former Michigan State quarterback believes he can use the event to vault himself to the top of the 2016 NFL Draft at his position.

"I believe so," Cook said when asked if he could position himself ahead of the draft's other top quarterbacks. "There are a lot of misconceptions about me. I can settle those in meeting with the coaches and GMs. Let them know who I am as a person. Get up on the board and show them what I can draw up against a certain defense. Dial the blitz, I can redirect protection. Anything I can do to show them that I'm not just a good football player but I'm mentally sharp and know the game inside and out."

It would be a mountainous climb if Cook were to do so. Most draft analysts regard Cook no higher than fourth in the quarterback pecking order, behind Cal's Jared Goff, North Dakota State's Carson Wentz and Memphis' Paxton Lynch. Part of Cook's challenge is overcoming the narrative that developed over the course of his senior season that he is aloof, and lacking leadership skills. He was not named one of the Spartans' three permanent captains, a concern for scouts and something Cook said came up with one NFL club during an informal interview upon his arrival at the combine.

Cook isn't at all oblivious to the criticism.

"That I'm a cocky football player, arrogant, stuff like that. That couldn't be any further from the truth," Cook said. "That's why I'm looking forward to sitting down with these football teams to let them know who the real Connor Cook is."

Cook also addressed his apparent snub of Ohio State legend Archie Griffin in accepting the MVP trophy following the Big Ten title game, saying he meant no disrespect, but acknowledged it looked bad on television and called Griffin to apologize.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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