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Monday, March 14, 2011
Considering Cook, AFC South tight ends

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

The AFC South is stacked at tight end, at least along the frontlines: Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels and Marcedes Lewis give the Colts, Texans and Jaguars, respectively, a top-flight player at the position.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. sorts out the position in the division in this Insider piece.

What I found most interesting was what he had to say about the team he currently ranks fourth at the position.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Titans could top this list one year from now. That is how much ability Jared Cook has. But for now, I have to put them firmly at the end, considering how strong this position is in the AFC South. At this stage of his development, Cook is purely a receiver. But he has rare abilities for a tight end. Comparing him physically to Jermichael Finley is probably unfair, but Cook isn't too far off that steep comparison. His movement skills are superb.

Add that to the rave reviews about Cook’s potential, which have piled high. I called Cook the Titans' X factor heading into last year, but former coach Jeff Fisher and former offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger still didn’t trust him enough to use him a lot.

Still, his 12.4-yard average on 29 catches was a touch better than Reggie Wayne’s average in Indianapolis and second best to any regularly featured tight end in the division to Houston’s Joel Dreessen.

Even so, that second-year jump for a player Tennessee traded up to draft in the second round in 2009 wasn’t what it should have been.

Now optimists are mentioning Cook as the third piece of a trio new coordinator Chris Palmer can build around, a group that starts with running back Chris Johnson and receiver Kenny Britt.

I hope Cook’s focused while he can’t work with the team and that he ultimately proves the weapon people in team headquarters believe he can be.

Year 3 is time. Bo Scaife is likely to be gone, and whoever the new quarterbacks are will be urged to look for Cook. When things finally get off the ground, we’ll still be asking: Will he be in the right places?