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The reason I wouldn’t mind if the Eagles end up staying out of the Jared Cook sweepstakes isn’t that he’s not an explosive offensive weapon, rather its that he is NOT a TE to go to on third and short. He lacks Brent Celek’s toughness, and ability to turn quick developing plays into yards after contact. While Cook is a big strong guy who can and does go up to get contested balls in traffic deep down the field, most of his drops occur within 10 yards, and he rarely turns any of these plays into yards after he’s first contacted. His skillset is more that of large physical WR, he can run past any linebacker and even some defensive backs, go up to make plays on the ball in the air, and he runs solid routes while demonstrating generally excellent hands with phenomenal body-control for someone of his size.
It’s the lack of toughness that bothers me though; someone that big should not go down on first contact so frequently. Unless he burns by someone, its rare he busts through anything other than strict arm-tackles. Celek on the other-hand, seems to thrive more on toughness than anything else. He has solid hands and is a decent athlete but his real strength lies in the fact that he never goes down. He will drag defenders, shake them off, and occasionally elude them but he very rarely is taken down by just one defender.
The combination of Celek and Cook could be a potent one, were they to be brought together but I would be wary of over-paying Cook in what looks to be a frenzied market for his services. He is certainly a chess-piece that Chip Kelly would like to have alongside Brent, however he does have distinct limitations for a guy his size. For Eagles fan’s clamoring for a big 3rd down receiver, Cook does not quite fit the bill.
As an example, here’s Cook isolated into single coverage on a linebacker on 3rd down against the Bears. The Titans read the blitz and try to get the ball out to Cook on a quick out, however Cook can’t make the play and ends up dropping the ball. While this particular play was matched-up with Urlacher, among the best coverage linebackers in the game, drops of this nature (on 3rd down or on quick breaking routes) were all too commonly apparent on tape review.