Oakland Raiders Player Profile: Jared Cook
Back in the early 2000’s, when the Raiders were winning 10 or more games a season, the offense was filled with firepower. There was 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon slinging the football from sideline to sideline. Not to mention, his receivers were Hall of Fames Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. Fast forward to 2016. Last year’s version was led by franchise quarterback Derek Carr and wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. What the team lacked during Gannon’s period, is the same thing they lacked last season, a consistent tight end. General Manager Reggie McKenzie believes he’s found the guy through free agency.
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Jared Cook signed with the Raiders in March to become their pass catching TE they’ve always desired. Cook has had an inconsistent career leading up to this point, but when his game’s on, he’s a top 15 tight end. The former South Carolina Gamecock started his career in Tennessee, back in 2009. Cook didn’t get his chance to shine until 2011, when he caught 49 passes for 759 yards (career high) and three touchdowns. The next three years, including the last two in St. Louis, he started to perform like many had hoped. Averaging nearly 50 catches a season and over 600 yards, Cook looked ready to make the leap to the next level.
Unfortunately for Cook, the Rams struggled on offense in 2015 and so did he. The following season, Green Bay went out and signed the Georgia native to a one year deal. Many experts around the league felt this was the perfect situation for Cook. Namely, he would finally have an elite quarterback to throw him the ball. A high ankle injury early in the 2016 season derailed those plans. He only played in 10 games and recorded his worst statistical season since 2010.
Standing in at 6’5” 250 pounds, Cook’s has the speed and size to make plays down field and over the middle for the Raiders. Those skills were on display early during training camp last week. More importantly, Cook’s and Carr’s connection and relationship on the field is growing. Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing came out this offseason and discussed his excitement for Cook in the offense. It’s hard to find a negative in his game, so this anticipation will only grow as the season approaches.
Cook will have his opportunities to create himself a niche in the offense this season. If he’s able to stay healthy, big things could be on the horizon for Cook.