Tight End Jared Cook
If there's one thing that's certain about the Oakland Raiders, it's the high-flying nature of the offense. The Silver and Black possess a potent aerial attack that can produce in a variety of ways, and while the team put up 4,051 passing yards (13th most in the league), only 580 of those yards came from the tight end position.
Over the course of free agency this offseason, the Raiders have continued to add playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, and among those to join the roster is tight end Jared Cook. The 6-foot-4, 235 pound-player out of the University of South Carolina is one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league, and had a productive year with the Green Bay Packers a season ago.
In a high-powered, air-raid offense, Cook was one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets, hauling in 30 of 32 catchable passes, according to Pro Football Focus. Statistically speaking, 2016 wasn't the best season of Cook's career, but his improvement from 2015 to 2016 earned him the title of PFF's most-improved tight end in 2016.
Being a tight end in the NFL is a difficult task to fulfill; whether it's run-blocking, protecting the passer, or running routes, there are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to being successful at the position. In 2015, Cook finished the season with a PFF grade of 52.6, but improved his grade to 79.9 in 2016.
Here's a look at how PFF broke down his improvement last season.
"Cook left the Rams and joined the dynamic Packers' offense in 2016," wrote PFF. "While he saw some drop-off in production as a run-blocker, he became a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers down the stretch. Only Travis Kelce earned a higher receiving grade than Cook from Week 14 on. The biggest difference for the former Green Bay tight end was his sure-handedness. In 2015, he dropped a staggering 10 of 48 catchable passes, finishing last in drop rate (20.83) among TEs. Cook made an effort to better his hands going into this past season, hauling in 30 of 32 catchable passes."
Cook's most notable play from last season came in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys, as he kept the Packers' season alive with a brilliant 35-yard catch down the sideline, which would set the team up for the game-winning field goal.
While Cook will undergo a change of scenery in 2017, he'll have a more-than-capable quarterback in Derek Carr to incorporate him into the offense.