On paper, it wasn’t like newcomer tight end Jared Cook had all that bad of a season for the 2017 Raiders. He had one of his best seasons of his NFL career with 54 catches for 688 yards and two touchdowns. However, much of his 2017 production came in two games.
If he can be a more consistent playmaker in Gruden’s offense, Cook could be a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career out of South Carolina. The thing with Cook is that he is very fast for a tight end and can create great separation against lumbering linebackers. His hands are good, but he’s not the best route-runner and his blocking is atrocious.
He might be entering year 10 in the NFL out of South Carolina, but Cook is poised to have his best season as a professional. This will be the second season he will be with the Raiders. His chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr will grow in year two, especially in Gruden’s West Coast offense. Look for Gruden to scheme for more ways for Carr to get the ball to Cook in 2018.
Overall, Cook may never be as good of a player as we all hope he would. He has carved out a nice, albeit underwhelming NFL career. However, he has only had one year with a great quarterback and offensive coordinator at the same time. That was in 2016 with the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers and Edgar Bennett. Guess who is the new Raiders’ receivers coach? Bennett, so let that sink in. Look for big things out of Cook in 2018 before he hits free agency next spring in 2019.