Will Jared Cook Find the Right Recipe with the St. Louis Rams?

Jul 2, 2013

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Jared Cook Rams OTA
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Even with training camp looming, the NFL feels more like an episode of Law & Order. While Aaron Hernandez is making the headlines with his murder charges, I shift the focus to another tight end that should actually make an impact on the field.
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Jared Cook made the move from the Tennessee Titans to the St. Louis Rams. The BBQ in Nashville and St. Louis are both good, but they are different. Will the new setting prove to be a better recipe for Cook?
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Cook has had some success in the past. In 2011 he caught 49 passes for 759 yards and three touchdowns. His 15.5 yards per catch give you a glimpse of the athleticism he’s working with. Cook is 6’5″ and 248 pounds with 4.49 speed. He’s built like a Ford F-150, but runs like a Mustang.
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Cook spent some time in the shop last year, missing the final three games with a torn rotator cuff, but still managed to catch 44 passes for 523 yards and four touchdowns. At those rates, he was on pace for 54 receptions for 644 yards and five touchdowns. Obviously those aren’t elite numbers, but they are solid. Perhaps a change of scenery (and quarterback) will serve Cook well.
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Between Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck and something called Rusty Smith, Titans quarterbacks had a 76.9 passer rating and a 58.9 competition percentage. That’s not exactly cutting it. When Cook put up his best numbers in 2011, Hasselbeck and Locker combined for a 84.4 rating and a 60.4 completion percentage. Bradford had a 82.6 rating last year with a  59.5 completion percentage. His passer rating was a career high and his completion percentage was just a shade below the 60.0 mark he set as a rookie in 2010.
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Bradford has not had very many weapons at his disposal, which has prevented him from putting up better numbers, but he is clearly an upgrade over Jake Locker for Cook. The Rams drafted Tavon Austin and brought in Cook to give him the best arsenal to date. They also brought in Jake Long to give him some much-needed offensive line protection.
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Ironically, joining former Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher in St. Louis could be what helps Cook take the next step. Fisher intends to take advantage of his size/speed combination to get the best of opposing defenses. He is going to move Cook all over the field to create mismatches. In an interview with John Glennon of the Tennesseean , Fisher says “He’s going to play all over the place. We’ve even got him in the backfield, so we’ve got some good things for him.”
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Cook and Bradford have been working out and that relationship should continue to develop during training camp.
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I have Cook graded out as a low-end TE1. He has plenty of upside to be even better than that. FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Ranking has him as the 11th ranked tight end entering the season. His MockDraftCentral ADP is 136. If you don’t go after Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, there will be plenty of solid values later in fantasy drafts. Cook has as much side as any of them.
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What are your thoughts on Cook?
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