Green Bay Packers 2016 Draft: Interview with Washington wide receiver Jaydon Mickens
Interview with Jaydon Mickens
Q: How would you describe your overall experience as a Washington Huskie?
A: I played arguably in the best conference in the country in the Pac 12. There was never a lay-down week. You had to bring your “A” game and you were going against the best competition not only in the country, but in the upcoming draft.
Q: The last time we saw you doing any sort of football-related activity was during your pro day. I believe you were pretty happy with how things went. Am I wrong?
A: My pro day was good. I made sure I had fun. I made sure I kept a smile on my face. A lot of faces I was seeing were taking it seriously, but you also have to have fun doing what you’re doing. I had fun overall. The numbers (an official 4.51 in the 40, 35 1/2” vertical jump and 6.58 seconds in the three-cone drill) really weren’t what I wanted them to be. I wanted to run a 4.2 of course, but I ran a fast time and showed a lot of my skills.
Q: A bunch of NFL teams were at your pro day. The Seahawks, of course, were there. What were the conversations like between you and the Seahawk reps?
A: You know, there was just a lot of respect for what I accomplished over my collegiate career. It was overall pretty good being around all those coaches and them giving me good feedback from what they heard and what they’ve seen over the course of my career. I talked to Pete Carroll and John Schneider a lot and then I talked to the offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and a lot of different coaches throughout the NFL spoke with me along with the scouts. It was a great experience.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the other teams that have shown interest in you?
A: From what I know and from what they’ve shown, the Arizona Cardinals have been giving me some calls. The Chicago Bears, the New York Giants… I’ve had conversations with those guys. I have a good friend who’s a scout and he’s been having me go through the process of what it’s like playing for the Colts. The Raiders is what I’m hearing from my agent. I’ve also heard the Packers and Eagles have contacted me via text about draft day. I’ve been talking to quite a number of teams.
Q: Have you had any official visits?
A: Yes. I went to Houston to meet with the Texans.
Q: You’ve been very consistent in your production. How do you feel you’ve improved over the past two years in particular with coach Chris Peterson at the helm?
A: I’ve improved a lot with my character, but also my playing skills along with being a leader. Being a leader is an area I’ve improved a lot in because I was on the verge of… and talked about having 1,000-yard seasons. But coach Steve Sarkisian, when he departed, I had a whole new coaching staff and a whole new offense. They switched quarterbacks four or five times. But I’m not saying that as an excuse or anything, but our school and our program was trying to find their way on the offensive side of the football. We were up and down as a unit, but we kept it consistent enough to put up big numbers and to win a lot of football games in the Pac 12.
Q: So how was that transition from Coach Sarkisian to Coach Peterson?
A: There were differences, but the expectations were the same—they were high. In each practice, you were there to compete, so only the best man was going to play and we were going to do this thing to the best of our ability. Coach Sark is more hard-nosed and more hands-on than coach Peterson, but they both have their own unique coaching style in what they do and how they get success and with what they try to instill in their players.
Q: You are a versatile player. You can work out of the slot, go deep and even be used a jet sweeps. How do you stack up with some of the other receivers in this draft?
A: In my opinion, I can do a lot of different things that others can’t do, but I can do a lot of different things that others can do. I’m a guy that if you tell me to do something, I can do it and do it to my best ability. If you tell me to go over the middle, I’ll do that with no fear. I’ll be able to take the hits across the middle and make sure I catch the ball.
If you tell me to block, I’ll dig out any MIKE linebacker, SAM linebacker or any safety or cornerback to make that play that much more successful. Also, I’m good at understanding coverages and understanding schemes and why we’re running plays. It’s something that’s big for me because if I don’t have to think and I already know how to do the right thing, I can play as fast as possible and I pick up things on a dime. That’s part of the reason why I did play in my true freshman year.
Q: Do you have a favorite route?
A: I have a few different routes. I love the post corner. I love the whip route, the slant and out and the corner route. I love the seam route or the go-ball in general, the spear route, the out route, speed out and dagger route, whether it’s speed in or breaking it down.
Q: You are pretty dynamic with the ball in your hands on running plays and after the catch. Do you have a background playing the running back position?
A: The first position I was introduced to was running back. I played that all the way to my high school sophomore year when I moved up to varsity. I didn’t have a lot of size on me, so they didn’t know how many carries I could handle. So they switched me to the slot and outside receiver. All through Pop Warner, I played running back, but I also got some game-time reps at running back in college, but less than I would have like to. But I can’t play running back and that’s one of my favorite positions.
Q: Did you play any other sports growing up outside of football?
A: I ran track and I played baseball. In track, I was a sprinter.
Q: I always remember you running for a 31-yard touchdown versus Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl a couple of seasons ago. Is there one game or one moment that stands out the most for you in your days as a Huskie?
A: I would say the game versus the California Golden Bears in 2013. I had six or seven catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns. I should have had more, but being respectful to how the game was being played out, we toned it down because we had a very explosive offense that year with Keith Price at the helm and coach Steve Sarkisian calling the plays.
Q: There are lots of former Huskies in the NFL. Have you spoken to any of them about preparing for the pros?
A: Yeah, I’m getting into conversations with a lot of guys. Jermaine Kearse, John Timu, Kasen Williams, Kevin Williams, DiAndre Campbell, Shaq Thompson, the list goes on. They tell me to stay with the process. Don’t let it overwhelm you, but just keep with the process, just have fun and enjoy it. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’m having fun. I’m enjoying it and I’m going to treat it like a business. I’ve been treating it like a business because this is what we’re made for and this is the position we’re in.
Next: What are Mickens' biggest strengths and weaknesses?