Jared Cook: Joins Raiders


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Cook nearly matched his 2013 production last season, but it was only because of a career-high 99 targets as his efficiency nosedived. His yards per catch dropped by a full yard, and his yards per target was his lowest since his 15-target rookie season. While he led the team in receptions, his catch rate went from 59.3 percent to 52.5. The culprit was erratic quarterback play. An unintimidating wideout group didn’t help Cook in coverage, either. And it got tougher when Brian Quick was lost to injury midseason, leaving only Cook and Kenny Britt as concerns for defensive gameplans. Quarterback should be much improved this season with the addition of Nick Foles. Cook’s efficiency should at least bounce back, and perhaps his weekly production will become more consistent. The Rams did not upgrade at wide receiver, but a healthy Quick will help. With Britt and Quick on the outside, the 6-5, 254-pound Cook should find some holes over the middle to settle into. Backup Lance Kendricks is mainly used for blocking, but he does impose on Cook’s goal-line work. Kendricks had five targets and three scores inside the 10-yard line last season, compared to four targets and one score for Cook.


Cook set a franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end last season, but in the fantasy world he was a one-week wonder. After totaling seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, he topped 50 yards once and scored just three touchdowns in the 15 games thereafter. Defenses learned quickly that the Rams’ lackluster wideout corps held little threat and turned their focus to Cook. Losing Sam Bradford to a midseason knee injury compounded matters and this season he’ll be catching passes from Shaun Hill. From Week 2 on, Cook’s catch rate fell to 57.8 percent and his yards per target was just 7.2. That he led the team in receiving speaks to the ineffectiveness of the wideouts. At 6-5, 254, Cook has red-zone upside, and he has the speed to make plays downfield (nine catches of 20-plus yards). The Rams added Kenny Britt this offseason, and improvement among their young batch of receivers is expected. As such, Cook likely will see his targets decrease from last year’s team-leading 86, but that could be offset by an improved catch rate and YPT with more room to operate. Lance Kendricks is the backup, but he’s used more as a blocker and isn’t a big threat to steal targets.


Underused in Tennessee, Cook re-joins coach Jeff Fisher and should have a bigger role in the Rams offense. Cook is explosive and agile, lining up in the slot on 57 percent of his plays last year. He is a strong vertical receiver who has the ability to make big plays he had three catches of 40-plus yards and 20 of 20-plus over the last two seasons. While Cook had a three-year low 7.3 YPT, that can largely be blamed on erratic quarterback play.
A shoulder injury cut Cook’s season short in December, though he should be ready for training camp after undergoing surgery. He’ll join incumbent Lance Kendricks who likely will be used more as a blocker, allowing Cook to run plenty of pass patterns. Given the $19 million in guaranteed money he received, Cook should have every opportunity to thrive in the St. Louis offense.


Cook came on strong toward the end of last season, nearly doubling his previous years receiving yards with 759. His three touchdowns were a blemish, but the Titans had only 37 red-zone drives, sixth-fewest in the league, giving Cook just one red-zone score. Cook uses his strength and speed to get open and is a dangerous threat after the catch. His two other touchdowns came on an 80-yard catch-and-run at Cleveland in Week 4 and on a 55-yard pass play Week 16 against Jacksonville in which he ran away from several defenders near mid-field. His 9.4 yards per target ranked second to Rob Gronkowskis 10.7 among tight ends with at least 40 receptions and his 15.5 yards per reception was first. Cooks biggest problem, though, is his inconsistency as its difficult to predict what hell do week-to-week. He totaled nine catches over a five-game span, including back-to-back shutouts in Weeks 13 and 14. During the final three games, however, he caught 21 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown. Capitalizing on his strong finish and getting more consistent targets in the passing game (especially in the red zone) are keys to an improved season for Cook.


Cook came on toward the end of last season, recording 15 catches for 196 yards and a touchdown over his final three games. After letting Bo Scaife walk, Cook becomes the clear-cut starter. Tennessee has raved about his athleticism since making him a 2009 third-round pick, and hes even drawn comparisons to a young Jermichael Finley. Cook will have a veteran quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck throwing to him, which should keep him more involved in the passing game. While he may need to polish his route running, his strength and speed should be enough for him to create separation. Dont be afraid to stash him on your bench and see how he develops.


Cook did not show much in his first professional year last year, catching just nine balls and none for touchdowns. He is a physical specimen whom the Titans have high expectations for as his career matures. Last year he was hidden behind a deep tightend roster, but he currently appears to be the backup in 2010 and could see a significant jump in reception numbers this year.


Cook has superior athletic talent and has the ability to be a playmaking tight end in the NFL. As a rookie, he will likely play behind Bo Scaife and possibly Alge Crumpler, but he may end up being a future starter for the Titans. He is fast and as a result has been splitting out as a receiver at times in minicamp.

Jared Cook: Joins Raiders

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