It is an old narrative that has been pushed around for the last several years. When will the Saints get a tight end who can give them the same production as Jimmy Graham did during his tenure? Enter Jared Cook, who was the top free agent target at his position this off-season. He brings not only the veteran presence that is being left behind by Ben Watson, but the big body receiving target the team has lacked since 2014. Not only can Cook give the team another weapon in the red zone and passing game, he also has the chance to accomplish a feat that will beneficial to both parties.
The last time the Saints had a tight end accomplish a 1,000 yard season was in 2013 when Graham had 1,215 yards. He was the only one at his position to achieve this feat and also broke the record at the time in 2011 with 1,310 yards (only to be broken by Rob Gronkowski by 17 yards that same season) and placed him in the top ten of receiving that season as well. Since the trade to Seattle, neither Graham nor the Saints have been able to replicate the magic they once had. Ironically, Cook has never had a 1,000 yard season of his own, although he came close last year with 896 yards, the best of his career. Sounds like this could potentially be the recipe for success this year.
We all know what the Saints offense is capable of doing regardless of who is on the roster. Last year, we saw flashes from Tre’Quan Smith and Keith Kirkwood who we hope are able to take the next step in their development this year. With Alvin Kamara set up to become the top back and the addition of Latavius Murray, adding Cook into the mix gives Sean Payton the ability to dig back into the playbook and resurrect some concepts. It is definitely possible for Cook to improve his stats yet again now that he has a Hall of Fame worthy quarterback in Drew Brees to put the ball where he needs it to be. Not to mention, the Saints drafted Alize Mack who has shown his love for the team since day one and is out to prove his worth.
So the question still remains: Can Cook replicate the production that Graham once had? We shall find out in about four months’ time. OTA’s are already starting and are great building blocks for Brees and Cook to create chemistry from the jump. Hopefully that translate into a lot of yards and many end zone celebrations.
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