When the Raiders recently signed free-agent tight end Jared Cook, it was with the belief he could pair with Clive Walford to give Oakland a productive pair of pass catchers at the position.
Cook has proven to be a productive receiver in the NFL, beginning with Tennessee in 2009. In eight pro seasons, Cook has 303 catches for 3,880 yards – a 12.8-yard average – and 17 touchdowns. Even while missing six games in 2016 with the Packers, and being hampered by an ankle injury when back in the lineup, Cook had 30 receptions in Green Bay for 377 yards and a touchdown.
Recently, the analytic website Pro Football Focus named Cook the NFL’s most improved tight end in 2016.
Wrote Pro Football Focus this week: “Cook left the Rams and joined the dynamic Packers offense in 2016. While he saw some drop-off in production as a run-blocker, he became a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers down the stretch. Only Travis Kelce earned a higher receiving grade than Cook from Week 14 on. The biggest difference for the former Green Bay tight end was his sure-handedness. In 2015, he dropped a staggering 10 of 48 catchable passes, finishing last in drop rate (20.83) among TEs. Cook made an effort to better his hands going into this past season, hauling in 30 of 32 catchable passes.”
The prospect of Cook integrated into the Oakland offense is intriguing for new offensive coordinator Todd Downing.
“He’s got a skill set that’s going to be fun to play with so we’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek (Carr) is excited to add him,” Downing told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “He’s got a history of making plays in this league and it’s something we’re excited to have.”