The preseason is winding down and you can feel the excitement in the air as Week One is just around the corner. What marks the beginning of the season to me? Fantasy drafts. This week, with the fourth and final week of the preseason ending on Thursday, fantasy drafts are in full force. If you’re like me, you have multiple nights filled out ready for snake, auto, and auction drafts galore. Just like every season, fantasy participants try to find the sleeper of all sleepers, the guy who no one, and I mean NO ONE, saw coming. That guy for me is Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook. Okay- he might not be a nobody, but he sure isn’t on many people’s radars. And frankly, that’s just not right. Let me explain.
Related: Tennessee Titans Have A Ways To Go
Cook is a fourth year player out of South Carolina and is poised for a breakout season. In 2011, he finished with 83 receptions, 1,131 yards, and four touchdowns. A major reason behind his rise in yards was due to the loss of Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt in Week 3 to a season-ending knee injury. Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck and Cook ended up creating a great amount of chemistry as the season winded down, leaving Cook with a hunger in mouth for more.
As Cook enters his fourth year in Tennessee, he’s never been more ready to take on a role vital in the Titans offense. “I really came into my own last season, but now I’m looking to be more of an all around tight end, ” Cook said to me earlier this week. As the role of the tight end evolves in the NFL, Cook understands that making a catch or two in a game isn’t going to cut it. He says, “I’ve been working all offseason on my blocking because it’s one of my biggest weaknesses. But I’m feeling like I can contribute on the field in so many ways now.”
One of the biggest differences Cook has seen between the 2011 season and now is the amount of time and preparation he and his teammates have been able to have with Coach Munchak. Last season, Munchak was a rookie head coach who stepped into his role with no training camp. “It has been so much better having the time to work with him this camp and preseason,” Cook says, “He’s really hands on and engaged with us. He emphasizes the importance of knowing about the history of the Oilers organization.”
Cook has had the chance to spend a lot of time with quarterbacks Hasselback and Locker this preseason. He says, “Matt definitely slows down the game and takes his time with plays and throws. Jake is more high tempo with his game.” Cook is quick not to point out which QB is his favorite, but says he would feel very comfortable with either in the game.
And what about that sleeper draft pick? Cook says people come up to him all the time off the street to talk fantasy with him. “Fans will stop me and thank me for getting them big points for their team. I didn’t even know what fantasy football was until last season. But I’m happy to help anyone out.”
So if you’re struggling to find a tight end in your draft to fit your needs, take a look at Jared Cook. He’s a name you’re going to be hearing a lot more this season.