New Orleans Saints: Jared Cook will play instrumental role in offense
The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees haven’t had a threat in the middle like Jared Cook since the eruption of Jimmy Graham.
If the addition of Jared Cook reaps benefits that are even close to the production the New Orleans Saints got from Jimmy Graham, his signing may go down as the offseason’s best move. Even a marginal upgrade from Ben Watson will immensely help the offense.
Last season, outside of Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, the Saints weaponry around Drew Brees was thin. They didn’t have too many over-the-top threats as tight end Ben Watson ranked fourth on the team with just 400 yards in 2018.
Brees, who threw for just under 4,000 yards, led the team to a 13-2 record. The only two losses for the Brees-led Saints were against Tampa Bay, where the defense allowed half of 100 points, and a gritty game against Carolina where New Orleans scored just ten.
That being said, the Saints had a success 2018, ending as the NFC’s top team. To say that they’re about to get even more lethal should be deafening to the ears of the rest of the league.
The addition of Cook will help offset the aging Brees, who is now 40 years old. Cook has the ideal size at 6-foot-5 for Brees.
Cook was just 104 yards away from a 1,000-yard season in Oakland last year. To be fair, Derek Carr did notch over 4,000 yards. At 31, last season was Cook’s best in the league, and he may even be able to climb higher in New Orleans.
For tight ends, it’s oftentimes how active they are in the passing game that determines their value.
Cook, who was targeted over 100 times, had the ball thrown in his direction about seven times per game. That’s a pretty solid amount for a tight end and far higher than Watson’s mere three. For Cook, three targets per game just won’t be enough.
In Graham’s breakout season in 2013, he totaled over 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. While it’s extremely unlikely that Cook secures those numbers, even two thirds of that amount would be a successful season for Cook.
He will be instrumental for New Orleans, but they must find a way to get the most out of him. This relationship will be a two-way street.