Rams' post-draft position outlook: TE

May, 28, 2014
5/28/14
12:00
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- With the NFL draft and free agency complete, the St. Louis Rams' 53-man roster will likely come mostly from the players already on the team.

With organized team activities (OTAs) less than a week away, we take a look at where each position stands heading into next week. The next in the series continues today by examining the tight ends.

Who returns: Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, Cory Harkey, Justice Cunningham

Who is new: Alex Bayer, Mason Brodine

Who is gone: Mike McNeill

Projected starters: Cook, Harkey (when team uses two-back sets)

Pending competition: The Rams found roles for their top three tight ends in 2013 with Cook carrying the water as the primary pass-catching option, Harkey acting as a primary blocker who also lined up as a de facto fullback and Kendricks doing a little bit of both. All three should remain in those roles again this year with expectations increased across the board upon the return of starting quarterback Sam Bradford. The most likely competition to develop will for a fourth spot on the roster. The Rams have high hopes for Cunningham, whom they coveted before landing him late in the season from Indianapolis. Brodine is attempting to transition from defensive end and would be a prime candidate to handle blocking duties because of his size but will need to prove capable of making the switch first.

Outlook: The Rams will look to Cook as one of Bradford's primary receivers in hopes that another year together can allow Cook to deliver on the expectations that came with his 2013 free-agent contract. Cook still set franchise records for production from a tight end but he'll seek more consistency in Year 2. Harkey was a pleasant surprise last year as he emerged as a solid blocker inline but also out of the backfield. He even contributed as a pass-catcher on occasion. Kendricks got lost in the mix with the other two playing so much but still offers versatility and was productive in the red zone, scoring four touchdowns. Cunningham could be a surprise as a replacement for McNeill and does bring some skills in the passing game. Overall, this is a steady if unspectacular group with plenty of variety.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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