Both defensive backs played their college football at the University of Cincinnati last fall, and both were selected by the Cowboys in the 2009 NFL Draft — Smith in the fifth round (No. 143 overall) and Mickens in the seventh round (No. 227).
Mickens was a top prospect until he suffered a knee injury toward the end of the 2008 season. He missed the Bearcats’ final three games because of a torn meniscus, but he returned for the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech.
Mickens told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the injury had a lot to do with his slide in the draft, though he said he’s back to 100 percent:
- “I would have probably been (taken) in the first three rounds,” Mickens said during last week’s Dallas Cowboys rookie minicamp. “But things happen for a reason. I’m not worried about it now. I’m here with the Cowboys and I’m ready to go.”
Mickens said Smith was excited when he heard that the Cowboys had drafted his friend, too.
- “He texted me as soon as I got drafted and told me, ‘Let’s go,’” Mickens said. “I called him up and I was like, ‘It’s time to go.’ We’re going, and I’m just glad to have him with me.”
The Cowboys focused on their defensive backfield in the draft, using four of their 12 picks on DBs.